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Analysis / Noughts & Crosses

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Race relations in the modern world.

Noughts & Crosses serves as an inverted version of the world today. Certain moments in the first book, such as Callum loving orange juice or the skin plasters not matching Cross skin signifies.


Meggie represents those who have learned to acquiesce to such a system. She believes that Noughts 'should have their own schools' and that Noughts and Crosses should not 'mix'. Nevertheless, she acknowledges the inequality power in her society: Noughts are capable of destroying her livelihood.

Callum's dad defines his success by the dominant class's standards. At the beginning of the book, it seems that he believes Noughts should put the onus on themselves; by assimilating to the Cross standards, he believes Callum can succeed at the school. However, as the book progresses, it is revealed that he is a member of the Liberation Militia which insinuates he has grown disillusioned with peacefully assimilating and resorts to more violent methods to foster parity.


Jude represents those who become disenchanted early in their lives. His hatred becomes vitriolic, which is projected into universal hatred towards Crosses. Initially, he wanted to go to school but the Nought schools lack resources. This shows how the education system disproportionately fails to progress disadvantaged people. People with so much potential end up not reaching it because of the lack of resources to access

Kamal represents the institutions that work mercilessly to maintain the status quo. For example, he makes the entrance test for the school hard. Despite this, four Nought students do pass the exam, only to be expelled gratuitously.

Callum's teacher, Mr. Jason, signifies the internalized racism that is caused at times by having a biracial identity.

Sephy and Callum serve as foils to one another. Initially, Callum and Sephy are mostly ignorant of the world they live in (though Callum shows more awareness). When Callum started to gain cognizance of the dichotomous world he lived in, his cynicism grows. This disenchantment pushes him to join the Liberation Militia. On the other hand, Sephy gains awareness much later and this is due to her privilege. By using Sephy as a symbol of privilege, Blackman shows that advantaged people can be myopic towards such issues because it does not affect them as heavily.


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