“Everyday Use” is one of the most popular stories by Alice Walker. The issue that this story raises is very pertinent from ‘womanist’ perspective. The term, in its broader sense, designates a culture specific form of woman-referred policy and theory. ‘womanism’ may be defined as a strand within ‘black feminism’. As against womansim, feminist movement of the day was predominately white-centric.
By using quotes from Woolf, Alice Walker is able to contrast her own experiences, and those of other black women, with Virginia Woolf’s ideas about feminism. Virginia Woolf was British and white and not poor; she had a prominent voice among peers and was held in high regard. Walker takes Woolf’s quotes and inserts blackness into them. Not only does she add black perspective into the quotes, but she also adds the horror of being black into them. She states, “Any woman born with a great gift in the sixteenth century [insert ‘eighteenth century’ insert ‘black woman’ insert ‘born or made a slave’]” (Walker 166).
With each evolving era there is a strong and independent woman leading a change. In medieval times there was Joan of Arc and in modern day America it was former first lady Michelle Obama. These women were fighters for what they believed would make the world a better place. Another leading lady who stood alongside Rosa Parks during the time where segregation was heavily present, was the incredibly talented Maya Angelou. This successful female author wrote a masterful poem during one of the most brutal times to be a black woman.
“Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry”, written by Mildred D. Taylor, explores Southern Mississippi, ‘The South’, during a time when racism was common and when many were persecuted for the color of their skin. It is through the Logan family that Taylor portrays the social injustices experienced by ‘colored’ people and the way in which they suffered and overcame such discrimination. The role of women in the novel is portrayed in a non-stereotypical manner. It is through the character of Mrs. Mary Logan that individuals are exposed to the importance of motherhood and how her presence is one of strength and power. She not only encouraged formal education, but it is also through informal education that she teachers her children how to reject and react to any abuse they face.
‘Womanism’ according to Alice Walker is not narrowly exclusive; it is committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female. In all aspects Alice walker is the brightest star in a galaxy of black American women writers. Keywords: Womanism, Civil Rights Movement, Black feminism, Women’s strength AFRICAN WOMANISM The growing influence of the post-colonial agenda since the 1980’s has resulted in the creative expression of voice which was till now silenced by the Western master narratives. The painstaking efforts of non-white women from the margins has brought cross-cultural and inter-racial discussions into the arena of academic feminist theorizing which was till now based on gender. One of the primary aims of third-world feminism was to reject homogenizing impulses of Western feminists who analyzed women issues purely with regard to gender.
For the clarity of argument, I believe it is important to set a background to understand the cultural and theoretical arena from which black feminism was born. The early feminist agreement of feminism, revolved around the mainstream notion, that feminism was a movement organized exclusively around gender, without thinking about other oppressions (Roth, 2012). A large number of scholars about the second wave of feminist agree that the mainstream feminist movement was white and privileged (Roth, 2012); Crenshaw explains further, by adding that when feminism theory described women’s experiences about patriarchy, sexuality or other issues, “white women” were speaking “for and as women” (Crenshaw, 1989, pg 154) overlooking “how their own race functions
In “Everyday Use”, Alice Walker guides her audience through a story about her family and the African American heritage, simple her heritage. “Everyday Use” focuses on the three main characters Dee, Maggie, and their mother the Narrator. This story is about a mother who focus on her older daughter Dee more than the younger one Maggie, even though she is the one that stayed and took care of her. Walker describes the mother as a large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands as. She than compare Dee and Maggie, who is lighter than Maggie, with nicer hair and fuller figure.
Conclusion For the black mother, motherhood learns exactly what is entailed in the acceptance of responsibility for a new life. The taking on new responsibility will accept of suffering, sacrifice and a lot of love. The present paper is a discussion of the sufferings have been the most suppressing challenges in the lives of African American women as depicted in two great novels, The Color Purple and Meridian by Alice Walker. Alice Walker is one of the most influential figures in the American literature. Her writings are widely influential among the Western culture to see the black female as mankind nor women.
Often African American women’s struggles was overlooked by the woman’s movement (Davis 64). Truth and many other African American suffragist, provided the movement with a powerful tool which the white upper-middle class woman did not possess. Powerful and outspoken Truth provided a fighting spirit as well as some degree of solidarity between the white suffragist and the women of color. The 19th amendment is a milestone in American feminist history, and the suffragists at the time has helped shape feminist thought to
(Showalter 405) The Book contains eleven stories. All the stories have women as their focus and bring out the issues dealing with women, their search for identity, self-actualisation, self-assertion etc. The recurrent theme of the collection is woman, her various roles and the nuances of these roles. Divakaruni interrogates the patriarchal system, traditional idea of woman and motherhood. There seems to be an attempt at demythologizing the very concept of motherhood in patriarchy.