Running Head: A BLACK WOMAN’S STRUGGLE 1
A Black Woman’s Struggle Shamika Jeffery ENG 125 Stacie Hankinson June 2, 2014
A BLACK WOMAN’S STRUGGLE 2 A Black Woman’s Struggle Writing is a beautiful way of expressing how a person feels and thinks about everyday life. It is a way to express with emotion and feeling the trails, tribulations, likes, dislikes, and worries of oneself and the problems seen in the world and be able to be heard. Even a subject such as racism can be expressed in poetry and even in its ugliest form can be turned into a beautiful piece of art. Two literary pieces that I have encountered that left an emotional mark on me were “The Welcome Table” by Alice Walker and “What it is like to be a black girl” by Patricia Smith. In these two literary pieces the depiction of how racism plays a huge role in black women lives are displayed to the world to rise an understanding and awareness of the struggle that women of color have faced throughout the years and emotionally still struggle with today. In these literary pieces both authors express feelings on the subject of racism in a graceful and expressionate manner. Although the characters, settings, form, literary style, and symbols used in each piece of writing is different the message received from both are very much the same… Racism plays a crucial role in a black woman’s life still after segregation. The main character play an important role to any literary piece and allows great assistance to the knowledge of the theme of the literary piece. In Alice Walker’s “The Welcome Table” the main character is an elderly black woman worn down from life. Her personal description sets tone for the theme. “The old woman stood with her eyes uplifted in her Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes: high shoes polished about the tops and toes, a long rusty dress adorned with an old corsage, long withered, and the remnants of an elegant silk scarf as a head rag stained with grease from the many oily pigtails underneath”. (Walker 2003) In a time when whites and blacks live totally separate lives, she walks in an all-white church sweating and cold from her journey. “Inside the church she sat on the very first bench from the back, gazing with concentration at the stained-glass window over her head”. (Walker 2003) In that time, it is very unusual for blacks to walk into a place where whites gather so her presence sends out different emotions throughout the people she encounters. In Patricia Smith’s “What it is to be a black girl” the character is a little black girl transitioning into woman hood. The little girl goes through life trying to change her appearance for society to find acceptance. As her age progresses she tries altering her appearance such as changing the way her hair looks, coloring her eyes a different color, and altering her skin color to be accepted. Although the ages of the characters depicted in these literary pieces are different, it gives the audience a chance to see the struggle a black woman goes through from birth to old age. The setting in any literary writing plays a vital role in the atmosphere the author wants to create in order for his story to get told. The setting just like the characters help bring the theme alive for the audience. In “The Welcome Table” the story is taking place on a cold day in a time before segregation existed. It was in a time when blacks were not allowed to eat, worship, or be schooled with white people. Here an elderly...
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Johnson, R. C. (2010) Poetry: Writing Creatively in Five Different Styles. Yahoo.com
Walker, A. (1993). The Welcome Table. In Love and Trouble: Stories of
Walker, A. (2003). The Welcome Table. Literary Cavalcade, 55(5), 32
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