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First Paul's tormentor and later Paul's closest friend, Mitchell is a fiery, impulsive, charismatic man who is not afraid to fly in the face of authority. When they are boys, Mitchell beats on Paul, both because Paul represents white authority and because he wants to communicate to Paul that eventually, he will be betrayed by white authority. Mitchell's father beats him excessively, and consequently, Mitchell is belligerent and a hardened fighter. Once Mitchell and Paul become friends, however, Mitchell is uncompromisingly loyal and devoted to Paul. Unlike Paul, Mitchell has no compunctions about acting recklessly to procure what he deems he deserves or to do what he sees fit. Twice in the course of the novel, his acts of flagrant, though warranted, disrespect toward whites put Paul and Mitchell in grave danger. Though Mitchell spends much of his young manhood convinced that he wants to remain free and unfettered, he falls in love with Caroline Perry and remains as devoted to her as he is to Paul.
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