Quote 3

"Yes, sir," Johnny Paul said. "But you still don't see. Yes, sir, what you see is the weeds, but you don't see what we don't see."

Johnny Paul makes this statement in Chapter 9. He is trying to explain to the Sheriff that the Sheriff truly does not understand the pain that the black community has suffered on the plantation. For Johnny Paul and the other men, Beau's murder took place because of a culmination of injustice against blacks. Although Beau is only one man, he represents all the white men who subjugated the blacks throughout the years. When Johnny Paul looks at the plantation, he "does not see" what used to be there. Some of those things were his ancestors toiling in difficulty and pain. At the same time, what also used to be there was a vibrant black community that united together as they worked the land. When Johnny Paul looks at the weeds, he sees the plantation when it had no weeds before it was deteriorating and the houses were rotting. In the days before the Cajuns had pushed the blacks away from farming, few weeds existed on the plantation because the people who worked the land lived on it. With these memories, Johnny Paul does not sentimentalize the difficulties of their past, but he does remember the value of a community bound by mutual respect. It is the memory of all these things that Johnny Paul no longer sees on the plantation. With this statement Johnny Paul tries to point out to the Sheriff that the Sheriff never understood them because he has never truly understood all that they had and all that the suffered. For Johnny Paul, both their suffering and their past successes are the reason the Beau Baton has been murdered