Coming of Age in Mississippi gave the reader a first hand look at the efforts many people had done to gain equal rights.

Anne Moody, Mississipppi writer and civil rights activits

SparkNotes: Coming of Age in Mississippi: Character List

Anne was a girl who lived with her family during the time while the Nazis took power over Germany.
did just that,lecturing for becoming involved with a "foolish girl" andsummoning 's father, who forbade him to see Anne again.

Moody’s given name is Essie Mae, though she goes by Anne

Anne Moody, like many other young people, joined the civil rights movement because they wanted to make a difference in their state....
I feel the same difficulty communicating in my relationship to the audience a little bit. And some days, you know, I feel this tremendous virtuosic talent, like the opening of "Purple America" or the story in "Demonology" called Boys, where language is really . . . seems like it's at my disposal, and I can use it in a way that seems really evocative. But then there are other days when I just really . . . I'm really frustrated and disappointed with using the same old words and feeling like still experience eludes being captured in language a little bit. You know, there's this famous formulation by the French psychoanalyst, Jacques Lacan, whereby he said, "Desire exceeds the object." And a lot of time I feel like that. I feel sort of that way as a writer, that my desire to use language to capture emotional and psychic states is always outstripping the ability of this sign system to do its thing. It's always still lying there having only done 80 percent of the job somehow. . . .

 

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Throughout the novel, Anne continually uses her imagination to help her persevere through difficult situations.
RICK MOODY: They never discouraged me. I think that my mother was always trying to get me to have some practical other job that I could do . . . and probably wisely so. And my father, who actually worked in banking for a long time would seem . . . it would seem that he would have been a likely candidate for saying goddammit, you're going to do something where you can make some money. But to his eternal credit he really said I want you to do something that you love, and if this is what you love then this is what you should do.

Anne Sexton is an example of a poet with such problems who used her personal despair to inspire her poetic works.
RICK MOODY: Yeah, yeah, it's non-fictional, there's not really that . . . there's almost nothing that's made up in it. And k but it's so hard for me to try and write cogently and thoroughly about my own situation that I feel like as in the Essays of Montaigne, I can best express myself by expressing things that don't have that much to do with me sometimes. . . .


MLK and Anne Moody - Analysis - Sample Essays

RICK MOODY: Well yeah, I think it's all in there and it's meant to be . . . it's meant to embody the issues rather than argue them. Because I think fiction that's essay-istic in that way, that's about stuff, ends up being shallow and it's not just very good art. And example I use to the irritation of many people is Graham Greene's "Power and the Glory" which to me just has too much Catholicism in it to succeed as a novel. To me it's a real failure as a novel, and I don't want to write one of those books. Flannery O'Connor on the other hand I think saw her fiction as . . . having really particular theological concerns and so forth, but it's really possible to read those stories without feeling like I should have to convert to Catholicism. And hopefully that's the kind of resonance that people get out of my work. I don't want them thinking like oh my God, this guy's a Christian novelist or any other religious . . . or that I have any other religious affiliation. I want readers to read them as works of art that maybe embody . . . important theological questions that are kicking around in the air. Like how you are religious in an era of runaway multinational corporate capitalism. . . .

How can the answer be improved?

RICK MOODY: Well, I mean with respect to interpretation I think the situation is really as it was and that George W. Bush in a way is a living example of it. I mean he's a guy who . . . had some kind of spiritual experience and professes to be born again and so forth and really adheres to a lot of these kinds of what I think are simplistic interpretations of the message of . . . the Bible, the New Testament and so forth. So I think the problem still really exists. I know that we didn't deal with it as much . . . that both Darcy and I feel like very, very much more remains to be said about this. But the simple . . . the simplest remark that I can make on the subject is that I wish there were a religious left, and I still wish there were a religious left. There used to really be one, the religious left is that cultural entity that mounted . . . the civil rights protest. And so where are they now exactly? I know they're still out there because I go to church sometimes and I recognize that there are a lot of people at the church that I go to who feel the way I feel, but why is that not a cultural force anymore? Well, partly it's because Biblical in-errancy which is the kind of literary theology of the fundamentalist right has taken away our ability to interpret the Bible as a liberal document. So a lot more remains to be said about this and I feel that I didn't completely succeed in my effort to get the issues out into the public arena and . . . I hope other people keep trying to do it as I will too. . . .

Anne Moody - The subject of the autobiography

RICK MOODY: Yeah, that's really true and it's because I feel sort of . . . you know, if you wade into a novel . . . you know, that's like swimming the English Channel or something. You want to be really sure that you aren't . . . you aren't going at it in a ridiculous way because if you do you're going to waste three years. But with a short story you can be incredibly fanciful and if the craft is unworthy, it's only going to set you back six weeks or eight weeks or something. . . .