Meridian Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What is the premise of MERIDIAN?

MERIDIAN is the story of a young black woman, Meridian Hill, in the 1960s. Meridian gets pregnant in high school and has a short-lived marriage with her child's father. She then joins the Civil Rights Movement and gives up her son to go to college. Meridian finds herself unable to commit to the violence of the Civil Rights Movement and becomes ill, a manifestation of her conflicts about the injustice she sees in the world. Meridian travels to small, poor, black areas of the South, registering voters and fighting injustices, until she finally heals herself.

2. How does Truman encounter Meridian after so many years in the town of Chicokema?

Truman Held arrives at the small town of Chicokema and pulls into a gas station. Word arrives that something's going on, and he follows the gas station attendants out to see. A woman is staring down the town's tank, bought to defend against "outside agitators" working for civil rights. The problem is that a traveling circus has brought a mummy to the town, and the black and poor children are only allowed to see it on certain days. The woman rounds up the children and marches them over to the exhibit, defying the tank with some of the townsmen in it. After she leads the children through the cheesy show, she collapses. Truman knows her; her name is Meridian.

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