Coming of Age in Mississippi

How does she understand the role of her mother as the support of the family?

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Early on in the story her father tires of being a sharecropper and working for 'the man' and simply leaves the family to indulge in sex, gambling, and alcohol. This leaves her mother to be the sole support (emotionally, spiritually, as well as financially) for the children. Seeing that she can't make it in the rural setting, with the help of friends, they move into the city where the mother works multiple jobs.