Was anyone else confused as to whether Amma was white or black? I wondered about this the entire book. Near the end they say she's a descendant of Ivy, who was obviously a slave, however, I don't believe that Amma's race was ever explicitly stated as it was in the case of Marian. And especially since Ivy is described as being lighter skinned, several generations down her descendants may or may not have been obviously African American.
On the whole I thought it was odd to write in such detail about the town, its history, traditions, the DAR and their perspective on the Confederacy and Civil War, and to leave racial dynamics out so completely. I realize its somewhat of a loaded topic and not the focus of the book, but to have no mention of the town's race relations rang false to me.
I guessed that she was black, I think largely based on the style of magic she practiced, but I'm 4/5 of the way through the book and it's never been stated.
For better or worse, it seemed like the prejudice against Casters/"witches" kind of *replaced* race relations. The way the townspeople blamed Lena for things she hadn't done, ostracized Ethan for dating her, and the way she had to run a "gauntlet" to get into school because "she's not one of us"--these things were definitely reminiscent of ways African-Americans have been treated. The similarities are almost certainly intentional.
I'm not sure whether the authors decided to sidestep race relations so as not to make a long book even longer, or whether their portrayal of the Casters is their statement on the subject.
In a tiny town like Gatlin, as obbsessed as it is with geneology, Amma wouldn't/ couldn't pass as white, not with a Grand who was a slave and she still working for the same family. Besides Amma, I read Marian as black as well, and sure enough, it's in the text, page 225, chapter 10.13 "Marian the Librarian". It is curious -- and perhaps cowardly-- in a book so set in The South that race relations are not addressed.
Kelly wrote: "it seemed like the prejudice against Casters/"witches" kind of *replaced* race relations." Are you convinced of this raceless small town South Carolina?
Hmmm...don't know if I would call it cowardly. But as I was reading, it definitely seemed odd to me that Amma's ethnicity was not mentioned. I assumed she was Af-Am all along, but it was weirdly curious that it was not made explicit in the text.
Kelly L: your point about the prejudice against Casters/witches replacing race is compelling, but I agree with Julia that the story's "raceless small town South Carolina" (heck, a "raceless" America) is perhaps a bit unrealistic.
Overall, I enjoyed the story immensely and will read the second one.
No, I'm not convinced of it. It was something that nagged at me a bit. In a town where people had that much prejudice about everything else--from magical power to clothes--I'd be surprised if the residents just left race alone. And I think there may really have *been* racial prejudice in the town, as evidenced by the fact that IIRC Amma lives in a poor neighborhood where most of the dwellers are black. If most of the black people in town are poor and live in a separate area, it's not a prejudice-free town.
I'm not sure if Ethan just doesn't think about race, or if the Caster thing is meant as a metaphor for race, or again, if the authors just didn't want to make the book even longer by delving into race relations. But for whatever reason, the *authors* don't really go there. The *characters*, if they were real people, would almost certainly have to deal with these issues in their lives.
yeh I think she was black and I thought that a little bit of history was ok.I loved the plot and thought it rather enveiling, cant wait for next one although some points did go on and go all in all I enjoyed it.
not surprising after living here in the south. they tend to 'glean' over the racial dynamics of the real world history down here. like, politely not mentioning it. if you don't ask, they act like the history never happened. they have renamed entire neighborhoods and erased alot of it. the book is true to the reality in most of the heart of dixie. makes me wonder if that's how they handled jim crow and the other situations when they were contemporary.