Relationships, Personality, Violence, and Manhood in the Third Life of Grange Copeland

1620 Words Dec 22nd, 2009 7 Pages
Relationships, personality, Violence, and Manhood in the Third Life of Grange Copeland The novel ‘The Third Life of Grange Copeland’ by Alice Walker can be seen as a set of lives depicting the gradual formation of the personality living in the environment of racial discrimination and striving for human happiness. Alice Walker demonstrates how families can be adversely affected by the culture in which they live, and are often blind to its effects through the depiction of ruthless and violent treatment of family members. The author argues the impact of economical and racial oppression on the development of manhood and interpersonal relationships in addition to centralizing social inequality and its interference with the family …show more content…
He had the same dreams that all the young share, of a better life than their parents. He eventually goes on to meet Mem and falls in love, with dreams of giving her a good life, including treating her well. Brownfield wants to treat Mem better than his father treated his mother, but His dreams soon are confronted by the reality of the Southern world, where he is still a black and considered no more than a slave. Under the system he is doomed to be indebted to a white master, live in abject poverty, and have his masculinity threatened. He reached a level attained by earlier generations, of frustration and hopelessness. As a result, the wife Brownfield had found so attractive and loved so much became the victim of beatings, out of frustration and depression. Mem, with her own depression and frustrations, aged rapidly and was changed by Brownfield. “Everything about her changed, not to suit him…He changed her to something he did not want, could not want, and that made it easier for him to treat her in the way he felt she deserved.” (Walker, 57) Mem had entered the novel as an educated woman, a schoolteacher; this combined with Brownfield’s illiteracy only adds to his frustration and lack of self-esteem. Brownfield wants to believe in himself as ‘the man’ and as such the provider. He feels his masculinity is threatened when Mem, frustrated and sick of living in leaky cold huts decides to take matters into her own hands; she finds a job and a decent home for
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