The Warmth of Other Suns

The Warmth of Other Suns

by

Isabel Wilkerson

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Edd Pearson is the Mississippi planter for whom Ida Mae and George Gladney sharecrop in the 1920s and 1930s. Compared to other planters, Pearson is relatively just and humane—for instance, he keeps fair balance sheets instead of cooking the books to force sharecroppers into unrepayable debt. However, he’s still willing to use terror and violence to get his way: he leads the mob that tortures innocent Joe Lee after Addie B.’s turkeys wander away. When George and Ida Mae decide to move to the North, he doesn’t fully understand why—he isn’t capable of seeing the world from their perspective—but he also doesn’t try to manipulate them into staying.

Edd Pearson Quotes in The Warmth of Other Suns

The The Warmth of Other Suns quotes below are all either spoken by Edd Pearson or refer to Edd Pearson. 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:
Migration and Freedom Theme Icon
).
Part Two: The Awakening Quotes

On the drive back home, George searched himself, hard and deep. This wasn’t the first beating, and it wouldn’t be the last. Joe Lee had lived, but he just as easily could have died. And there was not a thing anybody could do about it. As it was, Ida Mae felt George was in danger for asking Mr. Edd about it at all. Next time, it could be him. George had a brother in Chicago. Ida Mae’s big sister, Irene, was in Milwaukee and had been agitating for them to come north.

He made up his mind on the way back. He drove into the yard and went into the cabin to break the news to Ida Mae.

“This the last crop we making,” he said.

Page Number: 149
Explanation and Analysis:
Part Two: Breaking Away Quotes

George could have left after settlement without saying a word. It was a risk to say too much. The planter could rescind the settlement, say he misfigured, turn a credit into a debit, take back the money, evict the family or whip the sharecropper on the spot, or worse. Some sharecroppers, knowing they might not get paid anyway, fled from the field, right in midhoe, on the first thing going north.

The planters could not conceive of why their sharecroppers would want to leave. The dance of the compliant sharecropper conceding to the big planter year in and year out made it seem as if the ritual actually made sense, that the sharecropper, having been given no choice, actually saw the tilted scales as fair. The sharecropper’s forced silence was part of the collusion that fed the mythology.

Related Characters: Isabel Wilkerson (speaker), George Gladney, Edd Pearson
Page Number: 167-168
Explanation and Analysis:
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Edd Pearson Character Timeline in The Warmth of Other Suns

The timeline below shows where the character Edd Pearson appears in The Warmth of Other Suns. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part Two: Ida Mae Brandon Gladney
Migration and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Decision, Consequence, and Regret Theme Icon
...before the wedding and reluctantly agrees to support it. Ida Mae follows George to Edd Pearson’s plantation, where he starts sharecropping.  (full context)
Part Two: A Burdensome Labor
History, Memory, and Identity Theme Icon
The Economics of Racism Theme Icon
Chickasaw County, Mississippi, 1929. At age 16, Ida Mae moves to Edd Pearson’s plantation with her new husband, George Gladney. They live in a ramshackle wooden cabin and... (full context)
Migration and Freedom Theme Icon
History, Memory, and Identity Theme Icon
The Economics of Racism Theme Icon
...can’t afford clothes made of the same cotton she picks. George’s family sharecrops on the Pearson plantation, too, and his niece teaches Ida Mae to cook, clean, and do laundry. She... (full context)
Part Two: The Awakening
History, Memory, and Identity Theme Icon
The Economics of Racism Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Chickasaw County, Mississippi, Late September-Early October 1937. Addie B., Ida Mae’s neighbor on the Pearson plantation, awakens to find that her turkeys have disappeared. Late that night, Edd Pearson brings... (full context)
Migration and Freedom Theme Icon
The Economics of Racism Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Decision, Consequence, and Regret Theme Icon
...stole Addie B.’s turkeys, which wander back home in the morning. George Gladney complains to Mr. Edd , but he has to be very careful not to offend him. George goes to... (full context)
Part Two: Breaking Away
Migration and Freedom Theme Icon
The Economics of Racism Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Decision, Consequence, and Regret Theme Icon
...the harvest. They sell everything they own, but they don’t tell anyone, lest Mr. Edd Pearson find out and invent new debts to keep them indentured. At the end of the... (full context)
Part Three: The Appointed Time of Their Coming
Migration and Freedom Theme Icon
History, Memory, and Identity Theme Icon
Love and Family Theme Icon
Decision, Consequence, and Regret Theme Icon
...children, and all their remaining possessions to the train station. Ida Mae fears that Edd Pearson will try to stop them, or that life will be no better in the North.... (full context)
Part Five: In the Places They Left
History, Memory, and Identity Theme Icon
The Legacy of the Migration Theme Icon
The Economics of Racism Theme Icon
...1970. The land where Ida Mae grew up still looks the same. After Mr. Edd Pearson’s death in 1945, a planter named Willie Jim takes over his cotton plantation and runs... (full context)