Alice Walker uses Virginia Woolf's phrase "contrary instincts" to describe the creative spirit that her female ancestors revive spirit that her female ancestors revered while working and living in oppressive conditions. Her mother had a difficult life, but she managed to keep her creative spirit alive. She held onto what she could in the simplest ways. Where there was a will there was a way.
Walker explains that her mother, though tired and overworked, did express and feed her creative spirit. She planted incredible gardens, and still does, with various blooming plants. She adorned the house with flowers from the garden. Walker likens her mother's garden to magic. Friends and strangers visited the garden regularly and would ask to stand or walk amongst her mother's art. Her mother's garden represents an undying love of beauty and creation, symbolizing the weaving of her creative spirit with nature's hand. Envision the roots in the garden woven together, creating a network of support for the other plants.e other plants.
When Alice Walker went in search of her mother's garden it became a journey about uncovering her own true self. Her mother was her strength and her role model. Walker discovered that she found herself while searching for her heritage, and in the process she excavated her authentic self.
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...e of art, you must open yours of art, you must open yourself up to the possibility that you might not like what the artist is trying to convey. It's about taking a risk. This is not going to be easy to do. In fact, it will be very hard, but it is a risk we must take. Once you have decided to dismiss something based on first impressions, you are doing yourself a grave disservice. When you decide to take that leap and challenge yourself, you will then understand your truth, without hesitation.
Walker, Alice. "In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens." Major Modern Essayists. Second Edition. Ed. Gilbert H. Muller with Alan F. Crooks. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1994. 329-337.
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