Susan Isaacs's Critique of Ntozake Shange's Sassafrass, Cypress, and Indigo

Susan Isaacs's Critique of Ntozake Shange's Sassafrass, Cypress, and Indigo

Length: 484 words (1.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Susan Isaacs's Critique of Ntozake Shange's Sassafrass, Cypress, and Indigo       

 

Susan Isaacs believes that Ntozake Shange's first novel, Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo, is mildly entertaining and enjoyable, but her writing, "sometimes loses a thread and makes a mess" (395). Isaacs praises Shange's style, while finding fault with some of the techniques she employs.

 

The main character that is introduced to the readers in Post Modern American Fiction's excerpt from Shange's novel, Sassafrass Cypress, and Indigo, is Indigo, the youngest of three daughters in the story. Indigo's character borders on the mystical. She has dolls she still talks to, and a fiddle that Sister Mary Louise, a friend of Indigo's, remarks, "Too much of the Holy Ghost came out of Indigo and that fiddle" (Shange, 44). One of Isaacs's criticisms has to do with Indigo's use of magic. Indigo is an avid fiddle player, she, "had mastered the hum of the dusk, the crescendoes of the cicadas, swamp rushes in light winds, thunder at high tide, and her mother's laughter down the hall" (Shange, 45). The technique of mixing magic and fiddle playing does not sit well with Isaacs, who states, "It's an intriguing idea, but it fails because although the author tries to present Indigo as a wise innocent, a mystical power, a joyous embodiment of the black spirit, the rhetoric of her musings is earthbound radical-feminist, predictable and silly..."

 

Isaacs continues her criticism of the notion that Indigo has any magical abilities, and the use of magic as a story line and as a part of Indigo's character, saying, "And if Indigo's black magic is real,...How can she and her people-a people with such potent magic-tolerate the evils the author catalogues so movingly?" (396). Isaacs wonders about the reason for Indigo's magical, mystical qualities, and continues along this track, wondering if the magic might be a metaphor, a fantasy of Indigo's, or Shange's own portrayal of black folklore. Regardless of the intended portrayal of Indigo's magical qualities, Isaacs believes that, "it is not presented with enough clarity. The reader remains mildly fond of Indigo--people who talk to dolls can be enchanting--but it is nonetheless befuddled about her role in the novel" (394).

 

Despite Isaacs' problems with the structure of the novel, and some of the devices and techniques Shange used in her character development, she does praise Shange as a novelist, comparing her art to weaving, a skill shared by both the mother and the eldest daughter in Sassafrass, Cypress, and Indigo.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Susan Isaacs's Critique of Ntozake Shange's Sassafrass, Cypress, and Indigo." 123HelpMe.com. 22 Feb 2020
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=5752>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Analysis Of The Disgrace Of Melanie Isaacs Essay

- The Disgrace of Melanie Isaacs In a Post-Apartheid South Africa, J.M. Coetzee introduces us to a set of characters and their respective stories, their lives and, in them, the multiple faces of the disgrace. The novel Disgrace begins, and circulates around David Lurie, a divorced middle-aged, teacher by profession, father, lonely, and, in many aspects, a failure, one would say, although he does not recognize himself that way.   Throughout the novel, sex is shown as a symbol for power, namely with David Lurie himself, linking the idea of authority with the body, explaining his patriarchal views towards females and sex....   [tags: Sexual intercourse, J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace]

Research Papers
1138 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on Trifles, By Susan Glaspell

- Trifles One woman’s Trifles is another man’s clues. The play Trifles, was written by Susan Glaspell based on the murder of John Hossack, which Susan reported on while working as a news journalist for Des Moines Daily News. Susan Glaspell was an American Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, actress, novelist, journalist, and founder of the Provincetown Players. She has written nine novels, fifteen plays, over fifty short stories, and one biography. At 21 she enrolled at Drake University even after the prevailing belief that college make women unfit for marriage....   [tags: Susan Glaspell, Gender, Trifles]

Research Papers
745 words (2.1 pages)

Bench Mark Assessment Test Critique Essay

- For the Test Critique Assignment I choose the Bench Mark Assessment Test for fourth grade. I think it is a great asset to know how my bilingual students are performing against other fourth graders or even to compare them with the national and state scores. The Bench Mark Assessment test is not an option, all students in grades third through eight who take the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) must take the Bench Mark assessments test. The Bench Mark Assessment test primary purpose of the Mathematics and Reading Benchmark Assessments test is instructional improvement and not accountability The Bench Mark assessment test was developed to help teachers to measure students’ strengths an...   [tags: Test Critique]

Research Papers
1553 words (4.4 pages)

Trifles, By Susan Glaspell Essay

- One of the most important tools that an author uses to convey his message to the reader throughout the text is his language. It plays a vital role in setting the overall tone of the text and helps in foreshadowing with crumbs of symbols and imagery. This essay focuses on the play “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell, first performed on August 8th, 1916. In order to understand the main idea of the play, it is important to understand details of the background of the author as it will help to illustrate a possible connection to the play....   [tags: Susan Glaspell, Gender, Woman, The Play]

Research Papers
1428 words (4.1 pages)

Critique of Thank You for Smoking? Essay

- Critique of “Thank You for Smoking…?” “Thank You for Smoking…?” is an article written by Peter Brimelow about the benefits of smoking. Brimelow provides some very clear points which are well addressed. Even though I do not agree with the subject that “smoking, in a way, is good for you,” (141) I think Peter Brimelow did a thorough job of making his opinions credible to the reader. Major Claim and Grounds This essay is a good example of a deductive essay because it moves from generalizations to specific instances (McFadden, 2003)....   [tags: Critiques]

Research Papers
1035 words (3 pages)

Intuition in Susan Jacoby's Unfair Game Essay

- "Few of us have vitality enough to make any of our instincts imperious."-George Bernard Shaw. I believe Shaw was correct in saying you have to make an effort to listen to your intuitions. These days, it's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to guarding your life, but people can take this a little too far by letting their own naïve, discriminating, and generalized ideas develop negatively in their heads. Race and gender are the singled out subjects that we let influence our culture's freedoms because of media, family and friend's twisted views, or a bad experience....   [tags: Susan Jacoby]

Free Essays
1263 words (3.6 pages)

Our Secret by Susan Griffin Essay

- Susan Griffin's "Our Secret" is a study in psychology. It is a look into the human mind to see what makes people do the things they do and in particular what makes people commit acts of violence. She isolates the first half of the twentieth century and in particular the era of the Second World War as a basis for her study. The essay discusses a number of people but they all tie in to Heinrich Himmler. He is the extreme case, he who can be linked directly to every single death in the concentration camps....   [tags: Susan Griffin, Our Secret]

Research Papers
1013 words (2.9 pages)

Symbolism in Trifles by Susan Glaspell Essay

- Symbolism in Trifles by Susan Glaspell In today's society, we generally view upon everyone as equal beings who deserve equal rights. At the turn of the 20th century, this particular view didn?t exist. Men clearly dominated almost every aspect of life and women were often left with little importance. The Wright?s embody this view of roles in Susan Glaspell?s play Trifles. Mrs. Wright was a typical woman who suffered the mental abuse from her husband and was caged from life. In Trifles, a mixture of symbolism of oppression illustrates Mrs....   [tags: Sybolism Trifles Susan Glaspell Essays]

Research Papers
866 words (2.5 pages)

Ntozake Shange Essay

- Ntozake Shange After spending a semester looking at Gardner's limited selection of people, I became frustrated at his blatant message that White male creativity is the only one to exist. With his obtrusive message in mind, I felt the need to challenge Gardner and his model to become less Euro-centrally male driven. In order to confront him, I have chosen a person who is neither, White nor male. Instead, she is a Black American woman who I can consider to be, in many aspects, a creative genius. Although I find it incredibly hypocritical to try to fit Ntozake Shange into Gardner's creativity model, for all intensive purposes for the class I will first point out how she does meet his model....   [tags: Male White Dominance Essays Prejudice]

Free Essays
3085 words (8.8 pages)

Susan Glaspell's Trifles Essay

- Susan Glaspell's Trifles Susan Glaspell's Trifles explores the classical male stereotype of women by declaring that women frequently worry about matters of little, or no importance. This stereotype makes the assumption that only males are concerned with important issues, issues that females would never discuss or confront. The characters spend the entirety of the play searching for clues to solve a murder case. Ironically, the female characters, Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale, uncover crucial evidence and solve the murder case, not the male characters....   [tags: Susan Glaspell Trifles Essays]

Research Papers
1167 words (3.3 pages)

Related Searches

Isaacs puts it poetically in her last sentence, "When she's weaving well, however, her fiction is very fine indeed" (p.394).

 

Works Cited

 

Geyh, Paula, Fred G. Leebron & Andrew Levy. "From Sassafrass,

Cypress, & Indigo." Postmodern American Fiction. (43-54).

New York: Norton, 1998.

 

Isaacs, Susan. "Ntozake Shange." Contemporary Literary

Criticism. Vol. 38. (395-6). Ed. Daniel G. Marowski. Detroit: Gale Research, 1986.

 

 
Return to 123HelpMe.com