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THE BACK OF THE BUS
Transcript of THE BACK OF THE BUS
By: Mary Mebane
Presented by: Rahaf Alhabashi, Adeena Malik, Tasneem Mansour, Faiza Aulakh, and Ahlam Ashkar
Thesis & Dominant Impression
"They were meant to-and did-create a world that fixed black people at the bottom of society in all aspects of human life. It was a world without options"
The dominant impression was that Mebane wanted to describe the idea of segregation and how the opposite race treat each other using one of her experiences on a bus.
In "The Back of the Bus", Mary Mebane uses numerous examples of figurative language to help the reader connect with the overall message. The types of figurative language she uses are Personification and Hyperbole. One example of personification she uses is found on page 72 in the first paragraph: "...the laws as they then existed would stand forever." In this phrase, Mary Mebane tries to instill in the readers' mind that the African Americans believed that Segregation laws would commence endlessly because of its strength and popularity. An example of Hyperbole can be found on page 75 in paragraph one: " We were going on our weekly big adventure, all the way across town..." The reason Mebane uses the term "big adventure" is because she takes a two-mile walk before reaching the bus line. She also explains that there are times when an African American is required to give his/her seat to a white, but never when there were no more empty seats. The last example for figurative language can be found on page 78, line 37 in the form of hyperbole: "The bus seemed to be going a hundred miles an hour..." The reason Mebane exaggerates this much is because the bus driver was scared and had tensed up after an African American refused to get up for a white, so the driver kept speeding up his bus in the hope that he would reach the white man's bus stop before a fight broke out.
Point of View
Mary Mebane began her essay in a historical, elderly perspective. At first, she explains her life
as she was growing up at the time of segregation. Mebane included her experiences when the
blacks sat at the back of the bus along with the discrimination of blacks and whites at her public
school. Later in the essay, she goes on about how she had to deal with being on the bus when
she was younger. Here, her point of view changes. The perspective is in her young self when she
had gone through all of this. So her point of view changes from her at an older age to her being
at a young age. Her way of seeing this differs because as young girl, she was in the situation and
as an adult, she looks back and understands what had actually happened.
Speaker: The speaker is Mary Mebane.
Occasion: Mebane and her sister ride the bus to their music class and Mebane describes the interaction between blacks and whites through her perspective.
Audience: The readers of the essay.
Purpose: The purpose was to show people how life was when there was a segregation between the blacks and whites before the Civil Rights Act.
Subject: Segregation and inequality. The subject of this essay was that the narrator, Mary Mebane wanted to portray to the reader how the blacks lived under the laws of segregation. SHe lived through a time where blacks had to show respect to whites to the extent that they had to give up their seats in a bus when a white wanted it. This itself describes how blacks and whites were definitely treated differently and unequally.
Tone: Tense and nervousness
Dialogue is used in the essay to amplify the intensity of the climax. The only dialogue is used when the driver asks the black man to move and the black lady intervenes. Because this is the only instance in which dialogue is used, it has a greater impact on the reader. The event is felt as a climax. Mebane includes statements such as "These is the n****** seats!" said by the black lady to show how tense the event was and the exclusive usage of dialogue at specifically this point in the story adds to the emotion the reader feels.