Warriors Don’t Cry


Melba Beals

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Melba’s Potential Rapist Character Analysis

On the day that the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the Brown v. Board of Education case, Melba was in the seventh grade and walking home from school, daydreaming of her parents’ reconciliation when a man with a “gravel voice” called to her from the inside of his car. There, Melba saw a man much bigger than her father—"broad and huge, like a wrestler”—offering her candy and demanding that she “take a ride home.” He mentioned the Brown v. The Board of Education decision and told her that he refused to allow his children to attend school with black children. When Melba tripped over her shoelaces while running away from him, he got the opportunity to try to force himself on her. Melba was rescued, however, when Marissa hit the man over the head with her schoolbag.

Melba’s Potential Rapist Quotes in Warriors Don’t Cry

The Warriors Don’t Cry quotes below are all either spoken by Melba’s Potential Rapist or refer to Melba’s Potential Rapist. 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 and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon Pulse edition of Warriors Don’t Cry published in 2007.
Chapter 2  Quotes

I crept forward, and then I saw him—a big white man, even taller than my father, broad and huge, like a wrestler. He was coming toward me fast [….] My heart was racing almost as fast as my feet. I couldn’t hear anything except for the sound of my saddle shoes pounding the ground and the thud of his feet close behind me. That’s when he started talking about “niggers” wanting to go to school with his children and how he wasn’t going to stand for it. My cries for help drowned out the sound of his words, but he laughed and said it was no use because nobody would hear me.

Related Characters: Melba Pattillo Beals (speaker), Melba’s Potential Rapist
Page Number: 15-16
Explanation and Analysis:
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Melba’s Potential Rapist Character Timeline in Warriors Don’t Cry

The timeline below shows where the character Melba’s Potential Rapist 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
Passive vs. Violent Resistance Theme Icon
...to him with candy. She refuses and he becomes more demanding. The man, who becomes Melba’s potential rapist , chases her, slaps her, and takes his pants down. She resists him, then he... (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
...tell anyone about nearly being raped, especially not Conrad. She tells Melba to pray for her potential rapist , asking God to forgive him and teach him to do right. By the time... (full context)
Chapter 6
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...relief. An attorney mentions the Brown v. Board of Education decision, which reminds Melba of her potential rapist . Judge Davies announces his decision: Governor Faubus used the Arkansas National Guard to thwart... (full context)