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Gloria Naylor's Mama Day Essay

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Gloria Naylor's Mama Day

George and Ophelia grow up in significantly different environments with exposure to vastly dissimilar experiences; their diverse backgrounds have a profound impact on the way they interpret and react to situations as adults. George and Ophelia both grow up without their parents, but for different reasons. George grows up at the Wallace P. Andrews Shelter for Boys in New York. The Shelter’s strict surroundings did not provide the warm and inviting atmosphere that a mother strives for in a home. The employees at the Shelter are not “loving people,” (p. 23) but they are devoted to their job, and the boys. At a young age, Ophelia loses her mother. We learn very little about her apparently absent
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So, when he sees Ophelia twice in one day, he doesn’t know what to think. He has a successful life at the age of 31, and that just goes to prove that “you got nothing from believing in crossed fingers, broken mirrors, spilled salt-a twist in your gut in the middle of a Third Avenue coffee shop.” (p.33) When people have a gut feeling like George has in the coffee shop, they usually try to do something about it; and when the same person they had that feeling about walks into their office 30 minutes later, they usually consider it an act of fate. But George isn’t a man of those beliefs; in fact he almost forgets about Ophelia until the letter comes from her. Ophelia, on the other hand, believes in fate. Not to say she knew they were going to marry each other because they meet twice in one day, but she doesn’t completely forget as George does. She grows up with magic and believes that you can feel and hear things if you choose to.

George and Ophelia approach the interview process from different perspectives, as well. In her independent and determined manner, she left Willow Springs to venture off into the “real” world. The grades she makes in school and the fact that she survives the obstacles of life in New York City are due to her headstrong, independent attitude. The people of Willow Springs demonstrated
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