7 Daddy Clidell He is Vivian s second husband Although Maya initially tries to

7 daddy clidell he is vivian s second husband

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7. Daddy Clidell He is Vivian s second husband. Although Maya initially tries to dismiss him, Daddy Clidell becomes the only real father Maya knows. He combines the virtues of strength and tenderness and enjoys thinking of himself as Maya s father. He introduces her to his con-men friends and teaches her how to play poker. A successful businessman despite his lack of education, he remains modest and confident. Unlike the other men in Maya s life (Mr. Freeman and Daddy Bailey), Daddy Clidell treats her as a father should: he teaches her life lessons, tells her stories, and shows her how to play cards. In fact, he seems pretty excited to be a dad, even though he never had kids of his own. While Daddy Bailey seems to be striving for grandeur, Clidell is self-confident without being boastful. He was a simple man who had no
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106 inferiority complex about his lack of education and, even more amazing, no superiority complex because he had succeeded despite that lack. At first, Maya thought he was just another of her mother s boy-toys, but he ends up being a pretty important influence on her life. 8. Mr. Freeman He is Vivian s live-in boyfriend in St. Louis. When Maya and Bailey move to St. Louis, Mr. Freeman sexually molests and rapes Maya, taking advantage of her need for physical affection and her innocent, self-conscious nature. In retrospect, Maya feels partly responsible for Mr. Freeman s fate, and her guilt over his murder haunts her throughout her childhood. Mr. Freeman is Vivian s boyfriend and Maya s rapist. Before the rape, Mr. Freeman s defining characteristic seems to be that he does not do anything. Seriously, he does not talk, he does not read, he does not listen to the radio he just sits there. Only when Vivian comes home does he show any action, and he jumps out of his chair to greet her. Maya describes Mr. Freeman as a big brown bear (11.4). Mr. Freeman is an unlikely father figure for Maya. Although it is confusing for her, his physical touch makes her feel wanted. Considering that she felt rejected by her parents, and Momma s love is not the touchy-feely kind, it makes sense that she is deeply affected by his hug. His presence changed Maya s life forever. 9. Mrs. Bertha Flowers She is a black aristocrat living in Stamps, Arkansas. One of Maya s idols, she becomes the first person to prod Maya out of her silence after Maya s rape, taking an interest in Maya and making her feel special. Maya respects Mrs. Flowers mainly for encouraging her love of literature. Maya has a total girl-crush on Mrs. Flowers. This lady is beautiful, genteel, and poised. She dresses as if she is going to have tea with the Queen, and she does not
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107 laugh but only smiles gracefully or giggles. Oh my! Mrs. Flowers is everything Maya wants to be when she grows up.
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