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In the long essay ''Looking for Zora,'' Walker writes movingly and with humor of her visit to Eatonville, Fla. There, Ms. Walker introduced herself as Hurston's niece, and so met people that Hurston knew. As Hurston's presence returns often in this collection, so do those of Walker's characters and family members. There is generally a blunt honesty in Walker's work and these essays spare neither her family nor herself.

Feminism – In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens

She writes of the double standard of sexual conduct within her family, and her estrangement from her father, which lasted until after his death. Other people represented here include her former husband, her daughter, and other family members, and her experiences with and about them well explicate the characters in her novels and poems. The poems in Walker's first book, ''Once,'' owe much to the Japanese haiku.

They are pictures of Africa's landscapes, the harshness of the early civil rights movement, and portraits of friends and lovers. As do many poems of that era, they show rather than tell of an immediate experience.

12 editions of this work

Her poems in both collections do not contain the polemics of poets like Don L. Lee or Sonia Sanchez, who seemed to feel that a strong black family was the answer to racism, and that relationships within the black community were beyond reproach. Like Hurston, Walker was always aware of the problems of personal relations of her men and women and sought to understand, rather than excuse or ignore, them.

She writes knowledgeably about sharecroppers, factory workers, blues singers, and the elderly and uses the poetic medium to isolate and study themes that are later developed in her novels and stories. In her first collection of stories, ''In Love and Trouble,'' her women characters confront church, voodoo, men who love books more than they do their wives, and encounter death and visions of Jesus on a dirt road.

Introduction

The title story of Walker's second collection, ''You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down,'' depicts a white rock singer and a black blues singer who age together in a relationship that is deeper than the cultures each represents but fails to understand. Also from this collection, ''Porn'' is a satire that is really about sexual relationships, and ''Fame'' is about an aging writer's bitterness. Other stories about rape and abortion dramatize the ambiguous relationship between racism and sexism, and the options provided to men in all circumstances regardless of race. Walker's stories do, nonetheless, suggest the possibility of reconciliation between the genders.

Alice Walker: “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens”

Grange Copeland, who deserts his family and later returns as a more responsible person, finds that his son lives a life even worse than the one he had left years before. It also demonstrates the problems beyond racism and social ills that individuals must confront. In ''The Color Purple,'' two women survive separation and loss of children and family to discover that a loving relationship can exist between men and women.

This novel provides both a peace and a conclusion to the conflicts Walker depicts in her earlier works, and here the racial aspect has been removed, leaving the black characters to confront one another. Walker has said that black women are more loyal to their men than to themselves, and her blacks are individuals.

In search of our mothers' gardens : womanist prose

She never condescends to create them otherwise. Her characters exist in a thoroughly documented landscape , where they labor and survive despite their differences.


  1. Alice Walker: “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens”?
  2. Alice Walker: “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens”.
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Black men and women sharing a rural Southern heritage may recognize their own lives in Walker's fiction, as well as in her essays and lectures. Walker's writings are engrossing reading, whether she writes on rural poverty , political commitment, the plight of the artist, personal relationships, or racism among feminists.

Many years ago, one of my former students — Tiffany Lawrence, a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates — gave me a little, locket-sized mirror. Thanks, Tiffany! The clip runs Podcast: Play in new window Download.


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