Study Guide

Bessie Jr. in Having Our Say

By Sarah and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth

Bessie Jr.

You don't have to be blood to be family, and Shmoop pities the fool who thinks otherwise.

During the Depression, Bessie is so committed to putting "everybody's problems on [her] shoulders" that her dentist's office practically transforms into a "social service agency" (5.25.26). Inspired by her mother's generosity, Bessie is more than willing to go without so that other people can have. She gives away food, clothes—even her prized radio.

But she might've bit off more than she could chew when she offered to adopt the child of a young patient looking to get an abortion.

Thanks to her psychic abilities (Crossing Over with Bessie Delany is coming to the CW next fall, BTW), Bessie correctly guesses that the woman will want to keep her child after all—a child she names after Bessie. That's a sweet gesture, but what's even sweeter is that the two become a mother-daughter pair of sorts. Although Bessie has helped countless people over the years, rarely does she get rewarded in such a profound way for her efforts.