Maud Martha, by Gwendolyn Brooks

2920 Words12 Pages
Black women's experiences and those of other women of color have never fit the private -public model. Rather than trying to explain why Black women's work and family patterns deviate from the alleged norm, a more fruitful approach lies in challenging the very constructs of work and families themselves. ("Native") Maud Martha Brown had strong ideas regarding marriage. She set out to conquer the role as wife, in spite of and because of her insecurities and personal hardships. Unlike the rose-colored images that enveloped the minds of many traditional (white) women during that period of the 1940s and 50s, Maud Martha set her sights on being a bride under the simplest conditions. Maud Martha was prepared to settle for being good enough to marry, rather than being a woman no man could refuse. Her position in society, her relationships with her family, and her overall existence in society greatly influenced Maud Martha's ideas regarding the male-female union. Though still influenced by her former roles, the final chapters of Gwendolyn Brooks' Maud Martha reveals an undeniably stronger and more mature heroine. Pulitzer Prize- winning author, Gwendolyn Brooks has gained much attention, but not without comparable controversy and criticism (Appiah 313). The Chicago-based author has built a sturdy reputation in both mainstream and African American literary circles. Nonetheless, her more popular works has won most of the poet laureate's recognition. "No white poet of her quality is so undervalued, so unpardonably unread. She ought to be widely appreciated... as one of our most remarkable woman poets" ("Voices"). Brooks challenged the existing approach to romanticism, the fairy tale nature of the Amer... ... middle of paper ... ...d Giola's Literature Web Site. <>. Modu, Anaezi and Andrea Walker. All the Man I Need: Black Woman's Loving Expressions on The Men They Desire. Newark: Gateway, 1999. 13-14. Parl, You-me and Galyle Wald. "Native Daughters in the Promised Land: Gender, Race, and Question of Separate Spheres". American Literature 70 (3) (1998) 14 Oct 2000 <>. Tresiddier, Jack. Dictionary of Symbols: An Illustrated Guide to Images, Icons, and Emblems. San Francisco: Chronicle, 1997. 120-6. Washington, Mary Helen. "The Darkened Eye Restored: Notes Toward a Literary History of Black Women". Angelyn Mitchell, ed. Within the Circle: An Anthology of African-American Literature, Criticism From the Present. Durham: Duke, 1994. 442-53.
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