Warriors Don’t Cry


Melba Beals

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An older girl who attends Dunbar Junior High School with Melba. Marissa is initially described as a bully who throws “overripe persimmons” at Melba. No one knows how old Marissa is but, due to her size, she is believed to be too old for their seventh-grade class, perhaps even as old as sixteen. Marissa’s father is “a rich minister” in the community, which Melba thinks explains adults inaction when it comes to correcting Marissa’s bad behavior. Unable to understand her behavior, the teachers call Marissa “retarded.” When Melba is assailed by a white man who attempts to rape her, Marissa comes to her rescue by hitting the man over the head with her leather schoolbag and then grabbing Melba’s arm and running away.
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Marissa Character Timeline in Warriors Don’t Cry

The timeline below shows where the character Marissa appears in Warriors Don’t Cry. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2 
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
...the others but trails behind, daydreaming about the persimmon trees and how, in the spring, Marissa, an older girl and occasional bully, likes to pelt her with overripe persimmons. Other than... (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
Passive vs. Violent Resistance Theme Icon
...Suddenly, he frowns, lets out “an awful moan,” and clutches the back of his head. Marissa has hit him over the head with her leather school bag and she urges Melba... (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
...her face and why her clothes are torn. Grandma India opens the back door and Marissa explains what happened, using the word “rape,” which Melba does not understand but associates with... (full context)