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Analysis Of Women For Her Mother By Alice Walker

Decent Essays
Born in 1944 in Eatonton, Georgia, Alice Walker wrote her poem Women for her mother. The poem addresses the emotional effect of Jim Crow not just on mothers but on their daughters as well. The poem is resolute and yet not overly aggressive nor, for such a negative topic, is the piece polemic, nor solemn. The poem celebrates the lives of african american women who raised there children in a time of extreme racial violence and oppression. Without ever explicitly referencing men — black or white — the poem extols the african american women who persevered during a white supremacist state and raised their children under its regime of segregation and racial violence. Alice Walker’s mother was a maid and the wife of a share cropper. Walker attended segregated schools and began college at Spelman College in Atlanta though transferred to finish her degree in New York City. Walker chose not to include whites in this poem, though african americans are not explicitly mentioned either. She leaves it up to the reader to understand the racial context of the poem. Absent are all but the group she refers to in her opening couplet, “They were women once/My mama’s generation.” By only introducing the reader to one agent the author makes clear her intention; to depict the agency of black women living under Jim Crow. Walker sets out to depict black women as resilient, and noble warriors for a just cause. Walker builds on this theme through the poem; she uses it to establish a dualism between
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