The mistress of the household to which Frado is left is a cruel and spiteful woman, especially towards blacks. From this tale the reader is shown that racism and, in some degrees, slavery, was prevalent even in areas that professed abolitionism and equal rights. When Frado is left in the care of the Bellmont residence as a young girl, she has no idea of the tribulations that will try her for most of her life. From the very beginning, neither Mrs. Bellmont, the main antagonist, nor her equally cruel daughter, Mary, show any hint of compassion for young Frado. Mary would have the girl ejected from the house, saying "I do n’t want a nigger ‘round me, do you, mother?"
With both of her parents gone at the age of 14 this reality hit her hard she had nobody to help her through it and this played a huge role in her writing but also developing as a person. Most of her work date back to Eatonville where she keeps African American culture super real and this is what most people gave her hate for. They thought she was illiterate, “Hurston received a lot of criticism in her time by other writers, some of whom were also involved in the Harlem Renaissance.” Throughout her writing career, she was constantly being told that what she was doing was not right even by fellow writers of the Harlem Renaissance. This reveals a lot about Hurston's life in that most were against her and not just
Even though there are many human character antagonists that play a significant role in the novel and in the story of Helga Crane, such as her friends, coworkers, relatives, and ultimately even her own children, her race and her sexuality become Helga’s biggest challenges. These two taxing antagonists appear throughout the novel in many subtle forms. It becomes obvious that racial confusion and sexual repression are a substantial source of Helga’s apprehensions and eventually lead to her tragic demise. Helga’s first indication of racial conflict revolves around her occupation as a teacher at Naxos. Not so much with her fellow teachers or the other staff, but with the core concepts and principles of the school itself.
The narrator explained, “The Breedloves did not live in a storefront because they were having temporary difficulty adjusting to the cutbacks at the plant. They lived there because they were poor and black, and they stayed there because they were ugly” (Morrison 38). The discrimination was so extreme in the novel that the African American characters started to idealize the white race. One example of this is when Pecola, a black girl, yearned for blue eyes because she believes all of the cruelty in her life will then go away. This strong desire ultimately leads to insanity (Morrison 174).
Beth Richie would note that the inhumane treatment of black women comes down to the fact that only violence against women focuses on white women. The African American community have no support for themselves because there are multiple factors that affect their daily lives. The relationship that Assata was forced into with the store owner was one that no one could help her with. Not only did Assata deal with the owner hypersexualizing her but three boys at a party did the same thing. “I had heard people talk about “trains” but I had never thought it would happen to me.
She is oppressed mainly because she is black, but also because she is a woman. In each of her three marriages, Janie is oppressed by her husbands. All of them expect her to do things the way they want them done, and she does not seem to respect this. Janie also is not allowed to strive for her dreams or desires because she is black. In this situation, it seems that it is a combination of society’s oppressive laws and the repression of Janie’s feelings and desires that hold her back from her goals.
Womanist ideals are based off the linkage of racism and sexism. Walker uses this link to help build up every aspect of oppression Celie faces. An example of this is when she links sexism and racism by having Nettie write to Celie about the Olinka people not educating females “like the white people at home” (Ogunyemi 70). She is showing how black women are not educated not only because of their race, but also because of their sex. Women of color face these unique issues because of the link, so problems never get fully solved (Hutchison 185).
Alice Walker's The Color Purple is a good example of colored women's plight. Three obstacles black women had to overcome to be able to express themselves were Racism, the lack of education, and the stereo-type that women are inferior. Sophia is Harpo's wife and a very strong character. She does not let anyone beat her or slap her. After the mayor of the town slaps her she attacks him and is sent to jail.
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 through these depictions that we are able to identify with the feelings of the writer. Gwendolyn Brooks wrote an autobiography that reveals many her attitudes, tendencies and criticisms.
As the men fought the war the women who were now dependent upon themselves more than ever had to take on the role of the father. The Mammy figure now stood up for herself and would often times leave the white family, the family they left would often have feelings of remorse for their tremendous loss. Women were standing up for themselves and where now the maker of their own destiny, but with that still came the harsh reality that they would be still the most vulnerable group in antebellum America. Many single African American women were faced with poverty and had a really hard time dealing with the war and depending on themselves. Deborah Gray White’s view of slave women shows us that their role was truly unique, they faced the harsh reality that they were not only women or African American, they were both, so therefore their experience was one of a kind and they lived through it, triumphed, and finally won their freedom.