Small Great Things

Small Great Things

by

Jodi Picoult

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Small Great Things can help.

Wallace Mercy Character Analysis

A black television personality and preacher. Most of his work consists of activism to raise awareness for black people who are either wrongfully convicted of crimes or are murdered by police. Ruth finds him too angry, while Adisa thinks that he's the only person capable of making sure white people hear how angry black people really are. As Ruth's trial begins to move forward, Mercy offers to help her. He and Adisa organize one march but Ruth ultimately declines his help after Kennedy points out that the media attention won't do them any good. Despite this, Mercy and his followers still assemble daily outside the courthouse during Ruth's trial. Kennedy contacts him for help when she discovers that Davis was a carrier for sickle cell anemia, a disorder that mostly affects African Americans. With this information Mercy is able to find Adele, Brit's mother, and subsequently shatter Turk's conceptions about Brit, Francis, and love itself.

Wallace Mercy Quotes in Small Great Things

The Small Great Things quotes below are all either spoken by Wallace Mercy or refer to Wallace Mercy. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Small Great Things published in 2016.
Chapter 14, Ruth Quotes

"The fact that I'm Black was never an issue in my relationship with my colleagues."

"Not until they needed a scapegoat. What I am trying to say, Ruth—may I call you that?—is that we will stand with you. Your Black brothers and sisters will go to bat for you. They will risk their jobs for you. They will march on your behalf and they will create a roar that cannot be ignored."

Related Characters: Ruth Jefferson (speaker), Wallace Mercy (speaker), Mama, Marie, Corinne
Page Number: 226
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Small Great Things LitChart as a printable PDF.
Small Great Things PDF

Wallace Mercy Character Timeline in Small Great Things

The timeline below shows where the character Wallace Mercy appears in Small Great Things. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 13, Kennedy
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...what they've been watching. She turns on the TV; it's set to Fox News and Wallace Mercy is demanding an apology from the New York City police commissioner for racial profiling. Kennedy... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Kennedy asks Ava to at least watch MSNBC if she wants to watch Wallace Mercy , but Ava insists she's not trying to watch him and thinks he's not helping... (full context)
Chapter 14, Ruth
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...be months away. Adisa asks the bartender to change the channel so they can watch Wallace Mercy lambast a Texas school district that mistakenly thought a Muslim boy brought a bomb to... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
A week later, Ruth is on her way out the door for her shift when Wallace Mercy appears on her doorstep. Giggling, Ruth shows him in and offers him coffee. He tells... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...if she brings up race. She packs up her things and leaves, and Ruth finds Wallace Mercy 's business card. (full context)
Chapter 16, Kennedy
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...can't bring up race in a trial. She answers her phone when it rings; it's Wallace Mercy . He says that Ruth has signed a release allowing them to speak, which makes... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...later, Kennedy is on Ruth's doorstep. Ruth lets her in, and Kennedy says that involving Wallace Mercy will cost Ruth: there will be angry mobs, her face on TV every night, and... (full context)
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...black protest singing gospel music. They carry posters with Ruth's face on them, led by Wallace Mercy and Adisa. (full context)
Chapter 17, Ruth
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
After work, Ruth discovers six missed calls from Kennedy—Adisa apparently involved Wallace Mercy and set up a march in Ruth's honor. Ruth takes the bus to Adisa's apartment.... (full context)
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...When she finally stops crying, they fall into each other's arms. Adisa says she told Wallace Mercy to go away, and that Ruth is her only sister. (full context)
Chapter 19, Ruth
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
...Ruth follows Adisa's instructions to head towards the front of the courthouse, where she sees Wallace Mercy preaching to a huge group of black people. Adisa promises that she didn't tell him... (full context)
Chapter 20, Turk
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
...the cemetery and stop at Davis's grave. Then, they head to the courthouse and see Wallace Mercy grandstanding. Turk watches, angry, until he sees a white fist rising out of the group.... (full context)
Chapter 21, Kennedy
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
...wolfs down her food and then leaves to meet Ruth behind the courthouse. She notices Walter Mercy out front, as well as a group holding up pictures of Davis. The white supremacists... (full context)
Chapter 24, Kennedy
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...meets Ruth and Edison behind the courthouse. Ruth is still insistent on testifying. Kennedy notices Wallace Mercy outside. She begins her questioning and asks Ruth about the Florence Nightingale pledge, which is... (full context)
Chapter 26, Kennedy
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...a carrier for sickle cell anemia—and looks it up on the internet. Then, she calls Wallace Mercy . (full context)
Chapter 27, Ruth
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...and Ruth leave the courtroom and try to push through the press outside. Ruth sees Wallace Mercy , a woman next to him, and his supporters behind. Rather than head for Ruth,... (full context)
Chapter 29, Kennedy
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...their verdict. Edison returns to school, his desire to do well renewed. Ruth appears on Wallace Mercy 's show and receives donations from his viewers. Brit is in the hospital and Turk... (full context)