The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman

Who convinces the other characters in the story that Mary Agens is innocent?

Who convinces the other characters in the story that Mary Agens is innocent?

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"Tee Bob kills himself in this chapter because he cannot stand living in a world where race is more important than genuine human emotion. Twice in his life, Tee Bob has lost acquaintances because of race relations. First his constant companion and brother, Timmy, is sent away simply because he is black. Next, Mary Agnes, the woman that he thinks he loves, is shown as unacceptable. Since there seems to be no place in the world where Tee Bob can live in peace without the issue of race constraining him, he kills himself. As Jules Raynard hypothesizes, Tee Bob likely understood in the moment before his death that the historical legacy of sexual relations between white men and black women made it impossible for he and Mary Agnes ever to truly love outside of race. This realization of being trapped in the history of southern racism effectively leads to his death.

Jules Raynard appears for the first and last time in this section as a man with considerable insight and perspective. It is Raynard who stops Robert Samson and Jimmy Caya from meting out violence against Mary Agnes in revenge for Tee Bob's death. Raynard knows that Mary Agnes did nothing and that she even rejected Tee Bob, so he takes pains to protect her. Robert Samson's desire for "justice" shows him once again as a figure trapped in the older social order. Ironically, it is this order that led to his son's death. Robert Samson's ridiculous desire to injure the beautiful woman with whom his son fell in love testifies to his lack of understanding about his child. Tee Bob never would have wanted Mary Agnes injured since he loved her. But in the unequal system of southern vigilante justice, Mary Agnes might die simply for attracting Tee Bob. Robert Samson's desire for justice for his lost son seems equally ridiculous when we consider the way in which he dismissed Timmy, his black son. Now Robert Samson has no sons to carry on his legacy. His racist beliefs have cut him down. First they led him to expel a child from his home, and next they reinforced the social order that was so oppressive that Tee Bob killed himself.

Later Raynard says that the letter was to Miss Amma Dean and that Mary Agnes is innocent. Jimmy Caya suddenly reappears and is angry and distressed upon learning of Tee Bob's death. Jimmy blames it on Mary Agnes. Robert Samson then makes a move as if to leave the library, but Raynard stops him. He begs Robert not to follow the lead of the likes of white trash, such as Jimmy, into using violence against Mary Agnes. When Jimmy cries out again for justice, Raynard slaps him and tells Jimmy that Tee Bob's death is his fault. Jimmy explains that he had only explained the rules of society to Tee Bob earlier. When Raynard says that Sheriff Guidry will get Jimmy for his actions, Jimmy starts to cry. Soon after, Sheriff Guidry arrives. Sheriff Guidry eyes everything and everyone and picks up the letter opener. He listens to Jimmy Caya but also treats him disdainfully and quickly sends him home."