The White Tar Baby

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But Tar-Baby , she stay still Tar-Baby , she ain't sayin' nothin' She des hilt on, en den Brer Rabbit lose de use er his feet in de same way. Brer Fox, he lay low. Den Brer Rabbit squall out dat ef de Tar-Baby don't tu'n 'im loose he butt 'er cranksided.

Character List

En den he butted, en his head got stuck En who stuck you up dar whar you iz? Nobody in de roun' worril. You des tuck en jam yo'se'f on dat Tar-Baby widout waitin' fer enny invite," sez Brer Fox, "en dar you is, en dar you'll stay As defended by Morris and its other creators, the new approach was designed to assist peaceful change in the area. The danger was that if it failed to meet its purpose, the new policy would simply provide a thin excuse for normalization of relations with the white regimes.


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But he can also be very violent: He accidentally killed his wife after catching her with another man and then spent time as a soldier. His criminal past means that he has several aliases; his real name is William Green.

Rep. Lamborn apologizes for "tar baby" remark

Read an in-depth analysis of Son. He is determined to enjoy his retirement; he particularly enjoys gardening and spending time in his greenhouse. Valerian sometimes fails to take things as seriously as he should, and he can be stubborn and mean.

Tar Baby: Essay Q&A | Novelguide

But the revelation that his wife, Margaret, abused their son, Michael, devastates Valerian. By the end of the novel, Valerian has turned from a strong-willed man of business into an invalid. Much of her life has been defined by her attractive appearance, which includes red hair and lovely pink and white coloring. Very vain, Margaret seems to lack anything else to think about besides her looks. She has a cruel streak, which led her to abuse Michael when he was a young child.

She hates the island and wants to return to the United States.

When Valerian becomes incapacitated, she finds pleasure in taking care of him. He expects respect and distrusts Son.


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He sometimes talks back to Valerian but ultimately obeys his boss. Ondine is black, very opinionated, and particularly scornful of Margaret. Son discovers his true name and much of his past history. Gideon lived in the United States for a long time, hoping to make his fortune, but failed to live up to his ambitions.

Why "Tar Baby" Is Such a Sticky Phrase

She particularly hates Ondine and Sydney. Valerian fires her, along with Gideon, for stealing apples, which further deepens her hatred of Americans. She used to be a wet nurse for the white American babies on the island, but the invention of formula put her out of business and almost caused her to starve. Michael only appears in flashbacks, but other characters discuss him frequently. But generally Michael is thought of as well intentioned and kind. He studies anthropology and performs a lot of community service. The American characters in the novel call her Mary, the same name they call her mother.

She has questionable ideas about beauty and obsesses over finding the right wig.