Florence by Alice Childress Essays

Florence by Alice Childress Essays

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Florence by Alice Childress

This 1950 play by Alice Childress takes place in a train station
waiting room in a very small town in the south. The play describes how
Miss Whitney, an old black woman, discovers that her premonition of
the success of her daughter, Florence, as a black actress is
undesirably similar to that of a racist, white society. This troubling
discovery has just as strong an impact on the reader as it does on
Miss Whitney. This drama teaches the reader how the views and opinions
of individuals or groups can influence other individuals or groups to
approach situations with the same reaction, although their views and
opinions may be opposite.

Marge, Miss Whitney's other daughter, first introduces this frame of
mind to as she accompanies Miss Whitney at the train station. They sit
in the "colored" section of the train station while Miss Whitney
awaits a train to Harlem to convince Florence to come back home to the
south. Florence fled to Harlem with ambition of being an actress.
After she calls home to ask for money, Marge is convinced that
Florence will fail because she is a black woman attempting to make it
in a business dominated by whites in a racially segregated society.
Although Miss Whitney seems to have a little bit more faith in
Florence, she still wants to convince Florence to come back home. They
even have a check ready to pay for her trip home, which is causing
them to be late on their rent. This reveals to us that they are
willing to sacrifice a little in order to prevent Florence from
possibly failing in her quest for success. As Marge speaks to her
mother she reveals her mentality in regards to Florence's situation,
"She ain't gonna get rich up there and we can't afford t...

... middle of paper ...

...a powerful message. Before Miss Whitney's
conversation with Mrs. Carter, she felt Florence wouldn't make it as
an actress. After realizing that a racist white woman felt the same
way, Miss Whitney reevaluated her reasons for wanting Florence to come
home. Realizing her reason's weren't much different, she felt the best
thing to do is to encourage Florence to follow her dream no matter how
hard it may be to achieve, rather than make her believe it was
impossible, just as the white society wanted her to believe. Once this
message is conveyed to the reader you can't help but look upon your
own past and wonder if you've ever been guilty of letting somebody
else's opinions influence what you believe is or isn't possible. This
play teaches us to be more open-minded as well as not being a
hypocrite. This play is a masterpiece by Alice Childress to say the

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