Stamps, Arkansas throughout the Jim crow era (i.e. 1930s)

Stamps, Arkansas

The main setup for the first part of the novel is Stamps, a tiny (and an extremely real) town on the border that Arkansas and also Louisiana. Trains pass by this town without even stopping, and also the nearest large city is hrs away through bus. No the most interesting place because that a kid.

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Things aren"t looking an excellent in Stamps. It"s the 1930s, the elevation of gyeongju segregation in the South. Slavery and the civil War are still new in the minds of Southerners, and also the Ku Klux Klan tho roams the streets. Not bad enough because that you? Well, the occupants of Stamps are already scraping by when the an excellent Depression comes along to make points worse because that everyone, black and white:

Stamps was as sluggish coming out of the Depression together it had actually been gaining into it. Human being War II was well along prior to there to be a noticeable change in the economic situation of the near-forgotten hamlet. (8.11)

Oh, and did we cite that even after women obtained the right to poll in 1920, women"s liberation was several years away?

Bottom line: Stamps isn"t the place to be—especially together a black color woman.

Stuck in Neutral

Stamps is choose a land there is no time. The words progress isn"t even in your dictionary:

Weekdays revolved top top a sameness wheel. Castle turned into themselves therefore steadily and also inevitably that each appeared to it is in the original of yesterday"s rough draft. (17.1)

Everything the does take place in Stamps appears to it is in disastrous: "droughts, floods, lynchings and also deaths" (14.18). And also the inhabitants don"t even try to adjust anything; lock just continue with your lives, resigned to your poverty, believing the God will reward them eventually.

Just as surely as Maya can predict the seasons an altering outside the the store, we as readers deserve to predict what will take place in Stamps.

The Store

Owned and also operated through Momma because that twenty-five years, the save (with a resources S) is the hub the Stamps. World congregate in the save to listen to the radio, barbers work-related on the porch, children come in for free candy, and also workers wait there to be required to their jobs. And also the selection of items the save stocks renders it seem like Willy Wonka"s cacao Factory, simply less delicious.

Everyone in Stamps appears to come to the store at part point, which permits us, together readers, to experience the community of Stamps. The rhythms and also cycles the the Store space the rhythms the its clientele. Human being are always in there, law something, offering us the feeling of a black neighborhood that sticks together and also helps each other out. Even when nobody had any kind of money, Momma uncovered a way to cater come the townspeople. Sure, it preserved her in business, but more than that, those room her people.

Maya claims that the keep is her favorite ar to be. Why execute you think the is? besides the liquid of course.

St. Louis, Missouri

Microcosm. Stamps is one large (little?) microcosm. What we mean is the Angelou"s summary of Stamps is not so much about the city as the is around the entire South:

Stamps, Arkansas, to be Chitlin" Switch, Georgia; hang "Em High, Alabama; Don"t permit the Sun set on you Here, N*****, Mississippi; or any other name just as descriptive. (8.1)

The stuck-in-neutral emotion of Stamps is in reality the emotion we get about the southern in general. It virtually seems prefer the past, incapable of moving forwards. The North, on the other hand, is a magical mystery land—one that we uncover when Maya move to St. Louis.

Check out Maya"s first impression the St. Louis:

St. Louis was a brand-new kind of hot and also a brand-new kind the dirty. Mine memory had actually no images of the crowded-together soot-covered buildings. For all ns knew, we were being pushed to Hell and our father was the transferring devil. (9.13)

Not for this reason great. However the city proves to be really different indigenous Stamps. Here"s a quick rundown:

Where Stamps was complete of spiritual people through strict moral and ethical codes, St. Luigi is filled v gambling, drinking, and prostitution. Perfect place for an eight-year-old.In Stamps, everyone maintained food together. In St. Louis, the food comes packaged, currently cooked and also everything. Everyone in St. Louis is an ext formal and less friendly 보다 in Stamps. Sure, friend might have the ability to keep a mystery for more than ten seconds, yet you likewise get the angry eye method more often.

Even despite Maya is enthralled by all the newness of St. Louis, she decides the it"s just not her form of city:

I had determined that St. Louis was a international country. I would never obtain used come the scurrying sounds of flushing toilets, or the packaged foods, or doorbells or the noise the cars and trains and also buses the crashed v the walls or slipped under the doors. (11.1)

Is it any surprise the she developed nightmares and Bailey Jr. Began to stutter?

San Francisco, California in human being War II

By the time Maya moves to mountain Francisco, the city is in a state of complete upheaval. Human being War II has just begun, threaten the safety of the port city, and also men are beginning to disappear as the breeze takes effect.

Speaking that disappearing, the Japanese population also started to disappear:

The Yakamoto Sea Food sector quietly came to be Sammy"s shoe Shine Parlor and also Smoke Shop. Yashigira"s Hardware metamorphosed right into La shop de Beauté owned by miss out on Clorinda Jackson. The Japanese shops i beg your pardon sold assets to Nisei customers to be taken end by enterprising N**** businessmen, and in much less than a year came to be permanent dwellings away from house for the recently arrived southerly Blacks. Whereby the odors the tempura, raw fish, and also cha had actually dominated, the aroma of chitlings, greens and also ham hocks now prevailed. (27.1)

What was going on here? Well, executive Order 9066 allowed authorities to forcefully eliminate Japanese world from the city. At the very same time, the Second an excellent Migration that black people from the south to the North to be in full swing, and also these brand-new workers quickly took the location of the lacking Japanese residents.

Everything is in flux, and that suits Maya simply fine. In fact, mountain Francisco is the very first place the Maya call home. Similar to Maya, the city is always changing. While Stamps is too backward, and St. Luigi is also formal, san Francisco is just right:

The city ended up being for me the ideal of what I wanted to be together a grownup. Friendly however never gushing, cool but not frigid or distant, distinguished without the horrible stiffness. (27.9)

San Francisco is also the an initial and only ar in which we check out black civilization advancing. Migrants native the South concerned the phibìc with big dreams, and earn more money than ever before. Dad Clidell"s conmen friends display that they deserve to use racism come fight ago at those that tried to oppress them. And on a much more personal note, mountain Francisco is the place where Maya fights "the man" and also becomes the an initial black conductorette in the city. Booya.

Of course, over there is racism and segregation in mountain Francisco, too, yet the black people of the city have actually not provided up top top fighting back.

(A town Just exterior of) Ensenada, Mexico

We don"t know a totality lot the specifics around the city that Maya and Daddy Bailey visit in Mexico. All we know is the they"re not in St. Louis anymore. Basically, it"s party time. Anyone is dancing, drink Coke, and also eating fried pigskins. World are hootin" and also hollerin", and also trying to litter streamers top top the ceiling through chewing gum. And Maya gets in ~ above the action:

I ate the fried pig skins, danced, screamed and also drank the extra-sweet and sticky Coca-Cola v the nearest method to abandonment ns had ever before experienced. (30.22)

This setup is less about the location itself and an ext about the experience. And this suffer is naught if no what Russian scholar Michel Bakhtin would speak to the carnivalesque. You understand how throughout Mardi Gras or spring Break noþeles goes, and also people perform things they would typically never do? every the rules are different, new things deserve to happen, and it is totally okay to walk down the street with your face covered in paint and also glitter? Well the is the carnivalesque.

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In Mexico, Maya doesn"t know anyone and also can"t interact properly. Oh, and her dad is drunk and also asleep and can"t aid her. Therefore while this setting isn"t lot of a setting, it forces Maya right into her very first act the independence. And that"s a huge stinkin" deal.