Essay on Maud Martha

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Maud Martha

Gwendolyn Brooks was a black poet from Kansas who wrote in the early twentieth century. She was the first black woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize. Her writings deal mostly with the black experience growing up in inner Chicago. This is the case with one of her more famous works, Maud Martha. Maud Martha is a story that illustrates the many issues that a young black girl faces while growing up in a ‘white, male driven’ society. One aspect of Martha that is strongly emphasized on the book is her low self-image and lack of self-esteem. Martha feels that she is inferior for several reasons, but it is mainly the social pressures that she faces and her own blackness that contribute to these feelings of inferiority. It is
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(Report From Part One, 43)

When she was young it didn’t bother her that Santa Clause was white, as she grew up and developed her own opinions the world and her own blackness it began to bother her. She feels as though her child is being drawn into a white world in which she cannot escape. This further frustrates both the reader and the main character. She does not understand why she has to be made to feel like she must up to meet the white standards. She begins to feel as though Christmas is the biggest and most important holiday and how a white male symbolizes it. Maud Martha made many of the same implications. When Martha is discussing the holidays she is constantly referring to the stimuli that experiences in terms of color. She talks about Halloween and the yellow burning pumpkins and birthdays and the pink and white candles and ice cream. She talks about the dinner table at home having a white tablecloth also. Brooks’ emphasis on color also works to emphasize the main theme in her works. This is again the issue of race and color and how color plays a major role in how we go about our every day lives. The extensive use of color also helps to emphasize in the readers mind the underlying issue that is ever present throughout the book. This is the issue of the writer wondering why
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