Essay PreviewMore ↓
For emigrants of any country it is difficult to maintain the individual culture of their homeland while assimilating to the ways of the new country they have entered. For slaves of the 19th century, the acculturation process was a necessity. If they did not conform to the Western way of life, they would perish. However for some slaves, their geographic location sequestered them enough from the European worldview that they could continue to practice their own culture and religion. Most of these groups were found off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia, the exact location of two important African-American narratives – Daughters of the Dust and Mama Day.
Although the islands did not offer complete sanctuary from the harshness of post-colonial American culture, it did afford the Africans living on those islands more latitude to practice their beliefs. Especially for the younger generations, there was a beckoning from the dominant culture to take part in its opportunities and advantages, which created a drawback for Africans still trying to carve their niche in the Western society. Daughters of the Dust and Mama Day are fictional narratives that vividly recount the experiences of the black slave family during the 1800’s. Although they take different narrative forms, the former as a movie and the latter as a book, there are still several important themes concerning the emerging African-American culture – a way of life that incorporates the native African worldview with the newly acquired American lifestyle – that the two stories address. Although there are differences between the two works, they are really structural in nature, such as plot and point of view, and are thus not necessary to address currently. Instead, it is important to focus on the values that dominate the African culture and the attitudes that enhance and interfere with their way of life in Western society. The narratives share two main themes of which all other themes can be derived. One is the struggle between the lifestyles and values of the mainland and the islands and the second is a belief in logic and science versus intuition and African folklore.
For both stories the island is an integral part of the story, almost becoming a character unto itself. The nature of an island is such that it has its own personality and dynamic, which is appropriate since it is physically dislocated from the mainstream.
How to Cite this Page
"Mama Day and Daughters of the Dust." 123HelpMe.com. 22 Jul 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Mama Day and Daughters of the Dust For emigrants of any country it is difficult to maintain the individual culture of their homeland while assimilating to the ways of the new country they have entered. For slaves of the 19th century, the acculturation process was a necessity. If they did not conform to the Western way of life, they would perish. However for some slaves, their geographic location sequestered them enough from the European worldview that they could continue to practice their own culture and religion.... [tags: African American Culture Literature Essays]
990 words (2.8 pages)
- Gloria Naylor's Mama Day In 1988 Gloria Naylor wrote the novel Mama Day in hopes to show the world that one can either accept the hand they are dealt and make it come out to the advantage of themselves and others, or one can hide from their pain and live a life scared of what may come in the future. Mama Day is set on an island off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia that is inhabited by the descendants of a slave population. The main characters in the novel; Ophelia, Abigail and Miranda, also called Mama Day, all experienced a lot of pain in their lives; it is how they chose to deal with their experiences that sets them apart from each other.... [tags: Gloria Naylor Mama Day]
1471 words (4.2 pages)
- Mama Day by Gloria Naylor The comparisons--North vs. South, city vs. country, technology vs. nature--are numerous and have been well documented in 20th century literature. Progress contrasts sharply with rooted cultural beliefs and practices. Personalities and mentalities about life, power and change differ considerably between worlds... worlds that supposed-intellectuals from the West would classify as "modern" and "backwards," respectively. When these two worlds collide, the differences--and the danger--rise significantly.... [tags: Mama Day Gloria Naylor Literature Essays]
839 words (2.4 pages)
- Gloria Naylor's Mama Day It is impossible to interpret Gloria Naylor’s 1988 novel, Mama Day, in one way. There are multiple standpoints that a reader can take in explaining various events that occur throughout the book, as well as different ways that the characters in the book interpret these events. The author never fully clarifies many questions that the story generates so as to leave the readers with the opportunity to answer them based on their own personal experiences and beliefs. The multiplicity of perspectives in Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day is embodied in the legend of Sapphira Wade and the dynamics between logic and the supernatural and between George and Cocoa.... [tags: Gloria Naylor Mama Day Essays]
1235 words (3.5 pages)
- Gloria Naylor's Mama Day George and Ophelia grow up in significantly different environments with exposure to vastly dissimilar experiences; their diverse backgrounds have a profound impact on the way they interpret and react to situations as adults. George and Ophelia both grow up without their parents, but for different reasons. George grows up at the Wallace P. Andrews Shelter for Boys in New York. The Shelter’s strict surroundings did not provide the warm and inviting atmosphere that a mother strives for in a home.... [tags: Gloria Naylor Mama Day Essays]
1245 words (3.6 pages)
- Mama Day by Gloria Naylor Mama Day by Gloria Naylor is a fantastic novel filled with vivid imagery and intriguing characters. Naylor weaves a realistic tale, despite the fantastic events that she describes. Her characters are believable and behave like "real people". However, Naylor's greatest asset is her descriptive powers, which not only sets the scene, but enraptures readers into Cocoa's dual worlds of New York City and Willow Springs, imprisoning us with her words. The plot centers around the three main characters: Ophelia/Cocoa/Baby Girl, George and Mama Day.... [tags: Mama Day Gloria Naylor Literature Essays]
660 words (1.9 pages)
- Gloria Naylor's Mama Day Gloria Naylor's Mama Day takes place in two distinct environments, each characterized by the beliefs and ideologies of the people who inhabit the seemingly different worlds. The island of Willow Springs, comprised solely by the descendants of slaves, is set apart from the rest of the United States and is neither part of South Carolina nor Georgia. As such, its inhabitants are exempt from the laws of either state and are free to govern themselves as they see fit. Only a worn-out bridge built in 1920 connects the inhabitants to the mainland, but the people of Willow Springs are entirely self-sufficient.... [tags: Gloria Naylor Mama Day Literature Essays]
951 words (2.7 pages)
- George’s Life Sacrifice in Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day George and Ophelia, two characters in Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day, have a complex yet intimate relationship. They meet in New York where they both live. Throughout their hardships, Ophelia and George stay together and eventually get married. Ophelia often picks fights with George to test his love for her, and time after time, he proves to her that he does love her. Gloria Naylor uses George as a Christ figure in his relationship with Ophelia to eventually save her life.... [tags: Gloria Naylor Mama Day]
746 words (2.1 pages)
- Ethnics and Heritage Destroyed George in Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day It has been said before that opposites attract when it comes to love. In Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day, two people who would seemingly never end up together somehow find a way to form a relationship that eventually leads to a marriage. George and Cocoa, the two lovers featured in this book, come from backgrounds that could not be more unlike the other. How they end up falling in love is close to a miracle, but because of their huge difference in background, they bring to each other what they wish they could have in themselves.... [tags: Gloria Naylor Mama Day Essays]
1005 words (2.9 pages)
- Analysis of the Movie, Daughters of the Dust Daughters of the Dust, was a movie about traditions, and the history of the women in a black family carrying these traditions. The movie starts in 1902, in an island where a family has lived for generations, since the slavery times. Part of this family, wants to leave the Island, but another part wants to preserve the traditions staying in the island. So the whole movie is about the struggle of the members of this family, in relation to leaving or not leaving the Island.... [tags: Film Essays]
537 words (1.5 pages)
The isolation from the mainland has helped to sustain much of the original African culture. The African worldview holds emotion and intuition in high regard, and the geographic layout of both fictional islands have allowed this value to remain true to the families, conflicting with the scientific, reasoning mindset of the mainland. These contrasting ideologies provide an endless source of inner conflict for the main characters in both narratives. For example in Mama Day, Cocoa and George alternate descriptions of their exploration of New York and the growth of their relationship. Cocoa describes how she is beginning to care about George. Cocoa's voice is softer than before; she has lost the hard-edged cynicism present in her earlier narratives. George's feelings are also changing, and this causes him to become nervous. He decides to end his excursions with Cocoa. He has been talking with his white girlfriend about making things more permanent, and after five years together, this relationship makes more sense to George than his feelings for Cocoa. The practical George is becoming increasingly overwhelmed by emotions, which cannot easily be controlled. For the family members in Daughters of the Dust, particularly Viola and Ely, there is a growing discontent with the superstition and voodoo they have been raised on. Belief in Nana Peazant’s charms and trinkets is being replaced with a more cerebral approach to problem solving. Again, the separation of the island from the mainland is the original reason that the African traditions have been allowed to continue this long; thus the island is not only there salvation but it may also be there downfall.
Overall, both accounts provide excellent descriptions of the African and African-American way of life. The joys and hardships of these characters mirror those of the real Africans who experienced this metamorphosis of their culture. However, despite the conflicts between European and African worldviews, tradition and modernism, there is one element that transcends it all – and that is family.