Analysis Of The Book ' Coming Apart ' Essay

Analysis Of The Book ' Coming Apart ' Essay

Length: 790 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Kelly Mahowski
AML 3604
Dr. Plant
14 September 2014

The True Meaning of “Womanism”

In 1979 Alice Walker penned the short story “Coming Apart” where she first introduces the term womanist. She later resurrects it in the book In Search of Our Mothers Garden. It can be defined as:
“Opp. of "girlish," i.e., frivolous, irresponsible, not serious.) A black feminist or feminist of color. From the black folk expression of mothers to female children, "You acting womanish," i.e., like a woman. Usually referring to outrageous, audacious, courageous or willful behavior. Wanting to know more and in greater depth than is considered "good" for one. Interested in grown-up doings. Acting grown up. Being grown up. Interchangeable with another black folk expression: "You trying to be grown." Responsible. In charge. Serious.”(Walker xi)
Alice Walker is both African American and a female. Because of these qualities she fits into two groups that have had heavy discrimination against them. She can sympathize with both civil rights movements and feminist movements. However, black feminism, or “womanism” as Alice Walker coins it, is extremely different than normal white feminism.
In In Search of Our Mothers Garden Walker shows how women of color were rarely represented in early feminist writings- especially through her definition of womanism. The two “southern” phrases (“you acting womanish” and “you trying to be grown”) seem to have several important meanings. Womanism is from from the southern black word “womanish”, which is something that usually mothers in the black south would use when their daughters were acting too mature. Since Walker takes word from a

Southern African American word, specifically one from mothers to daughte...

... middle of paper ...

...stions his dependency on it. The husband then “attacks” her views while calling her “women’s libber”, a “white women’s lackey”, and “pawn”. (Walker, You Can 't Keep a Good Woman Down 48) By the husband using specific racial words, Walker is definitely telling the audience that she sees a difference between white feminists and black feminists.
Even though Walker and white feminists may have a lot in common, her race makes her plight that much stronger. White women do not have as many obstacles as black women do, and there are a lot of intrinsic cultural differences between the two races.

Works Cited
Walker, Alice. "Ballad of The Brown Girl." Walker, Alice. Once. Orlando: Harcourt Brace & Co, 1968. 78-79.
—. In Search of Our Mothers Garden. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1983.
—. You Can 't Keep a Good Woman Down. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1981.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Analysis Of The Book ' The Big Things ' Fall Apart '

- One of the big things that Great Britain has been known for is colonization the world around. This nation has colonized in one way or another in many of the large continents, not omitting this nation, the United States. In many situations the groups of people that the British or other great nations such as Spain or France, are degraded and called savage. Their savagery is established through the fact that they do not wear traditional clothing or they did not worship through Christianity....   [tags: Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe, British Empire]

Strong Essays
787 words (2.2 pages)

Coming Apart: The State of White America Essay

- Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960 - 2010 (2012) - Charles Murray Charles Murray is an American social scientist and author of many important books including his 1994 best-selling, The Bell Curve co-authored with Richard Herrnstein, a Harvard psychology professor and researcher. Murray himself is a Harvard graduate (history) who also holds a MIT PHD in political science and is a self-described libertarian. His following characterization of what he calls the “American project” provides an insight into his libertarianism: “The American project...consists of the continuous effort, begun with the founding, to demonstrate that human beings can be left free as individuals and...   [tags: Charles Murray]

Strong Essays
2025 words (5.8 pages)

Essay on Investigating Why the Book is Entitled Things Fall Apart

- Title Analysis of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart I believe that the title Things Fall Apart refers to the fact that without proper balance, things do fall apart. The notion of balance in the novel is an important theme throughout the book. Beginning with the excerpt from Yeats' poem, The Second Coming, the concept of balance is stressed as important; for without balance, order is lost. In the novel, there is a system of balance, which the Ibo culture seems to depend upon....   [tags: Papers Achebe Things Fall Apart Essays]

Strong Essays
1150 words (3.3 pages)

Essay about Analysis Of The Book ' The Coming Of Age '

- In the coming of age in Mississippi, the protagonist Essie Mae who also goes by the name Anne Moody narrates her story of growing up in the poor south. There are many conflicts that Moody faces throughout her childhood. The prominent issue of prejudice and white supremacy are common themes in the autobiography. As Moody is growing up, I don 't think she really knew that she was poor. While her family was living on the Carter Plantation as hard-working sharecroppers, Moody is often left alone with her sister and her 8-year-old uncle to look after her....   [tags: Black people, African American, Racism, Race]

Strong Essays
747 words (2.1 pages)

An Analysis of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart Essay

- The Importance of Things Fall Apart The novel "Things Fall Apart", by Chinua Achebe, was an eye-opening account of the life and eventual extinction of an African tribe called the Ibo. It focuses on one character, Okonkwo, who at a very early age set out on a quest of self-perfection. Coming from a family ruled by a man who was lazy and inconsistent with everything he did, Okonkwo vowed to never accept the fate of his father. Okonkwo and his family suffered through many hard times in their lives, but usually managed to come out on top....   [tags: Things Fall Apart essays]

Free Essays
660 words (1.9 pages)

Essay about The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats

- An Unexpected Future In his poem "The Second Coming," William Butler Yeats expresses that the endured disastrous behaviors of humankind will result in the beginning of a new age that is gloomy, fearful, and controlled by chaos. The poem provides as a warning of what may lie ahead if we do not change the direction society continues to take. “Turning and turning in the widening gyre the falcon cannot hear the falconer;” The falcon is described as "turning" in a "widening gyre". A gyre is a spiral that expands outward as it goes up....   [tags: poem analysis]

Strong Essays
544 words (1.6 pages)

Essay about Womanhood and Coming of Age in Madeleine L. Engle´s A Wrinkle in Time

- When Madeleine L’Engle first published A Wrinkle in Time in 1962, women’s place in society differed greatly than what L’Engle portrays in her novel. L’Engle broke barriers of the time with her portrayal of women in A Wrinkle in Time. The novel is infused with the themes of womanhood and coming of age. To be more specific, it is a novel which is thoroughly blended with the strengths of womanhood and with the concept that how women in a society can bring forth specific positive changes. The protagonist, Meg Murry, is a gifted adolescent who constantly harps on being different from other children....   [tags: Madelaine L'Engle book analysis]

Strong Essays
991 words (2.8 pages)

The Analysis of the Main Characters and the Impact of Colonialism in Things Fall Apart and Avatar

- ... Most Ibo tribes did not have a traditional form of government like most of the world. Instead, each tribe is governed by a small group of common people with high titles. These titles were earned by accomplishing things, instead of who their ancestors were like in a monarchy. The Ibo were a very independent people, even having their own calender. This calender had four days in a week, seven weeks in a month, and thirteen months in a year (Igbo). This tribe overall proved to be very accepting of the British Colonization overall....   [tags: historical and literary analysis]

Strong Essays
1865 words (5.3 pages)

Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart Essay

- As a man of great wisdom, knowledge, tradition, and culture, Chinua Achebe is a promoter of education and tradition who is well versed in both his African roots and Christian religion (Loveday). He has won awards like the Man Booker and Commonwealth Poetry Prize for his novels, short stories, essays, and children’s books and was thrust into fame after publishing Things Fall Apart. Born Albert Chinualumogu Achebe, in colonial Ogidi, Nigeria, he is the son of missionary teachers Isaiah and Janet Achebe....   [tags: Author Literary Analysis]

Strong Essays
1750 words (5 pages)

Analysis Of The Book ' Gone With The Wind ' Essay examples

- As the history of the United States has progressed, the motivation for starting a war has varied over the years. Something that has been consistent throughout every war are the emotions behind the soldiers fighting it. This can be seen in the books Gone with the Wind and The Things They Carried, and the document Letter to Elmer J. Sutters. Gone with the Wind is a novel that is set during the civil war. During the second part, the protagonist Scarlett reads a letter that was sent by a confederate soldier named Ashley....   [tags: World War I, United States, World War II]

Strong Essays
1215 words (3.5 pages)