Essay on For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf

Essay on For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf

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Aiming to gratify others has a tendency of making people act in ways other than their usual self. As one begins to act the way others want them to they begin to lose distinctiveness and individuality. For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange is about a specific set of women, who aim to please a certain man or different men. Each woman is hurt in some way by a man and as they progress throughout the series of “choreopoems”, they alter themselves in different ways to cause an effect upon the various men they associate themselves with. As the women describe their experiences, it is obvious that they make drastic changes in themselves. These women lose purpose and become confused, bitter, scared, and frustrated about their lives. Consequently, the ladies have negative outward reactions that are similar to each other, making the women easy to stereotype. The women in For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf have the opportunity to narrate their own stories; however, they choose to emphasize the influence of men in their lives, thus illustrating how susceptible they are to stereotyping and making them weakened as individuals.

As the women narrate the harm caused by men, they lose track of the beings that they once were and become different people in order to cause a reaction in others. These women are hurt in ways that cause them to change their way of living. The Lady in Blue becomes afraid of what others will think of her because a man impregnated her: “i cdnt have people [/] lookin at me [/] pregnant [/] I cdnt have my friends see this” (Shange, Abortion Cycle # 1 Lines 14- 16). Instead of worrying about the life of her child, she worries about how her...


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...hey find strength not in themselves, but in each other. They overlook the strength they have in themselves and only see it in another person similar to them. These women have experienced dilemmas that should have strengthened them ultimately. However, instead of being strengthened they begin to change showing that these women lack strong self-identifying characteristics. Instead of the narrative focusing on the women, it focuses on their problems—men. Each women starts to change their characteristics because of a man reacting in ways they normally would not. As a collection of poems centered on the women of color, there was not enough focus on the women, which seems to be what Shange expresses. Shange conveys the point that the black women are seen as stereotypes, and although they do not want to be seen as so, they act in ways that involuntarily put them as a group.

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