Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews February 27, 2024
February 20, 2024
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
While for most teenagers, high school involves building social skills and a community, for Melba and the other black students it is primarily about self-reliance. Not only are they entering a school in which almost every person is hostile toward them but they are also slowly losing friends from their old lives. Melba’s friends from Horace Mann begin to avoid her because they fear for their own safety and because she becomes so serious while undergoing the abuse at Central. Melba does begin to date Vince, but because he cannot understand what she is going through, they gradually drift apart. Melba is close to her family, but she learns that even they cannot protect her from the people in her school.
Melba has to face each challenge and attack by herself. Danny sees Melba through some difficult times, but eventually he disappears when the 101st Airborne is withdrawn. Though Link helps her, he does not openly declare himself her friend. While other teenagers around her travel in packs of friends, Melba is isolated and rarely allowed out in public. Grandma India gives her strength and purpose, but eventually, Grandma India dies. In the process of becoming an adult, Melba has to learn to rely more and more on herself instead of on the people around her.
The transformation from being innocent, idealistic teenagers to warriors is a recurring motif throughout Warriors Don’t Cry. Battered by the hatred and violence at Central High School, each of the Nine has to learn how to live without friends and rely solely on themselves. They also learn that they cannot rely on the protection of their parents or any of the authority figures in the school to protect them. Each of the Little Rock Nine has to learn to survive in hostile conditions. Each of them has to give up a youthful dream, whether it is seeing Elvis perform, playing on the school basketball team, or singing in the school talent show. All of the black students have to recognize that their lives are about much more than their own petty concerns: their pain contributes to some greater good. If they are unable to recognize this, they will not last very long. Because Minnijean cannot accept that it may be impossible for her to make friends and have a normal teenage life, it becomes harder and harder for her to stifle her natural emotions. She is expelled.
The story in Warriors Don’t Cry is not just about the Black students’ loss of innocence. It is the story of how Little Rock lost its innocence, as well. The segregationists in Little Rock fight so hard against the integration of the schools because, in some part, integration would mean admitting they had been mistreating Black people all these years. Link loses his innocence by watching not just how Melba and her friends are treated but also how his own family treats his beloved Nana Healey. Seeing them turn an ailing old woman away makes him realize he doesn’t really trust his family. It becomes difficult to reconcile the image of the parents he loves with their treatment of someone who had always loved and cared for him. The images that appear in the newspaper after Elizabeth Eckford is turned away from Central the first time, in which a tiny Black girl is surrounded by a howling mob of white people, shame some white adults. The reason segregationists talk about Black people “making trouble” is that the lives they live have hitherto been innocent of the suffering of the Black people around them. Being forced to recognize the pain of others requires a loss of innocence, for which they’re not prepared.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Warriors Don't Cry!