Compare and Contrast Essay on Gloria Naylor and Self

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Black feminist literature stresses on the double-victimization of black women. The women from the oppressed society encounter absolute dominance and cruelty within the territory of the whites, who suppress them in the name of race; also they undergo the same kind of treatment by their own men in various unsolicited ways. The prolonging silences of women congregate at once to voice out their true potential in the form of writing. It is not untrue that the black women needed to be advocated for their reinforcement against the imbalance in their society, subsequently for the reason they conform to the norms of the family, neighbourhood and the society. In the view of their reinforcement, one of the African-American writers like Gloria Naylor proves her own stand to enlighten the suppressed women. Her work makes the lugubrious minds of such women to search for their own self one step forward. Her narrative always possesses a sense of belonging to her own land, which carries the tales bounded with nature. She uses her own peculiar language to express her voice. She always highlights the quality of femaleness in her work, blended with deep understanding of female issues. She breaks the stereotype of white beauty metaphors by opposing it through her narrator. She possesses the richness of linguistic genius, which in turn serves as a cultural artefact in the world literature.

Gloria Naylor is no exception from the remarkable Black-American writers. Her sense of expression is more penetrating as she strives to achieve verisimilitude in her novels. She reconnoitres lives of individual woman rather than shedding light on the different perspectives of the narratives. Mama Day adopted the technique of “magical realism” (Faris 282) to the extent that transmits a larger significance throughout the novel. The concept is interspersed with the fascinating story of Cocoa and Miranda’s relationships in the imaginary island of Willow Springs. The fantastic reality presented in Mama Day is very much true to life in acquiring the reader’s attention. In other words, it tries to bring “verisimilitude” (McHale 627) even within the frame of magical and the fantastic. Mama Day distinguishes itself from the fantasy novel for the reason that it allows different narrative stances, which reassures the reality effect on the reader by producing speech acts of the characters and their comments on the magical elements as normal as everyday conversations. Whereas, one of the first person narrator George’s cynical attitude towards the magical powers of Mama Day, intrigues the reader’s anticipation of recognizing the reality out of the magic. Mama Day has the power to bring lightning by her own hand, and the magic of hoodoo. The omniscient narration as well as Cocoa’s first person narration affirms the readers willing suspension of disbelief by providing the information of Miranda’s extraordinary, supernatural powers as natural as the other events occur in their day to day life. It is a sign of magical realism, where the narrator gives the event of lightning caused by Mama Day, infuriated by Ruby’s devious act of poisoning Cocoa’s hair out of jealousy. The striking by Miranda is presented casually by the narrator making no comment or expresses no surprise:

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The shimmering powder is tossed into the hedges. She strikes the house in the back. Powder. She strikes it on the left. Powder. She brings the stick over her head and strikes it so hard against the front entryway, the window sheets shake… the entryway don't open when she leaves, and the breezes don't mix the hover of shiny powder. (MD 270)

George could not help contemplating on the incident of the destruction of Ruby’s house, tries to reason out with scientific perspective. Only he could notice the strangeness of the incident. His first-person narration shows the empirical question that is designed to make the readers to oscillate on the credibility of details, especially when they encounter the magical occurrence through two different perspectives i.e. from the focalization of the omniscient narrator as well as George:

Par for the course. That’s how I figured it when the lightning storm cracked and signed five feet of the new planking on the bridge…But, goodness, no, there is something bizarre about this lightning. It struck twice in a similar place. Hypothetically, it is conceivable, yet not plausible, for lightning to strike twice in the very same place… nobody is circling with that sort of learning in Willow springs, and it is exceedingly unlikely that it would happen normally. Others were there, supposing it unnatural too, however for altogether different reasons. This is a ponder and positive sign, since it had happened to Miss Ruby's home. (MD 274)

The “ostranenie or defamiliarization” (Buchanan 354) effect makes the novel special. Though the island of Willow Springs is pictorialized by the writer, it brings a novelty of dramatic experience to the reader. The novel’s external plot covers the outer events and experiences of the characters in the island. Gloria Naylor incorporates the theme of everlasting value of culture and the communal strength behind every motive of the characters’ actions. Miranda is a representative of culture who adores the mythical nature of the world, and who tries to preserve the humanity by all means. It is a prima facie arrangement of the writer to throw light on this protagonist of the novel. The matriarchal figure makes the novel’s “euphoric plot” (Prince 73). The plots of the novel are closely knit to achieve the dramatic effect deferring each sub-plots in a compact manner: The character Bernice Duvall’s longing for a child, which is helped later by Mama Day and the story of the envious, wicked Ruby, which coincides with Cocoa’s fatal illness. The problem of the novel arises when Cocoa arrives in an August unusually, with her husband. This plot of action which revolves around the protagonist Cocoa mainly turns out to be the plot of fortune. There are two different narratives in the novel, parallel with the first and third person plural narration, and also a third person omniscient narration along with variable focalization. Cocoa and George intradiegetic narrators and as well as narratees. George’s narrative brings the realist point of view, which contrasts with that of Cocoa’s perspectives on the mythical and supernatural nature of her ancestors succeeded by her aunt Mama Day. Further, the omniscient narration ensures the point of view of the community of Willow Springs, the only living inhabitants who are the part of the mythical history of the island. Apparently, the novel begins with the story of Bascombe Wade and Sapphira informing how the black woman gets to own the island, and how she is believed to possess magical powers and perform witchcraft. The novel consequently presents the clash of two different cultural traditions: The Western pragmatism from the perspective of George, who favours the New York’s style of living; The cultural heritage of Africa propounded by Cocoa. This clash of traditions color the production of meaning across realism and fantasy. The connection between the two cultural systems are united metaphorically with the union of Cocoa and George, who have their diverse ideologies join at once in the course of life. George, who is preoccupied with the rationalist believes, refuses to acknowledge the spiritual and mysterious nature of life, gradually comes to terms with Cocoa. Meanwhile Cocoa’s recognition of her own self during her early days in New York, who conforms herself to the cultural system of African-American community:

It accompanies the social domain: the pounding of the bramble drum, the shaking of the slave send, the musicality of the hand going from cotton sack to cotton push and back once more. It proceeded to subside into the paunch of the blues, the arms of Jackie Robinson, and the leader of each ghetto child who lives to a ready seniority. You can keep it, you can shroud it, you can blow it—yet even at the point when your rear end is in the most impenetrable break, you should never under any circumstance LOSE it. What's more, I didn't, did I? I delved back to wherever in our history I needed to get it… (MD 102)

Since the text emphasises the two cultural systems personalized by the two main characters, it provides symbolic codes to connote the principal meaning. The bridge that connects Willow Springs with the U.S.A. signifies the contrast in cultural relations of the former with the deep rooted African. It also suggests the realist and the mythical nature of the story world that tries to form a peace tie, advocated by the characters George and Cocoa. Furthermore, the characterization of Miranda can be connoted symbolically by attributing the name of Shakespeare’s protagonist in The Tempest, which implies the matriarchal ownership of the island is given instead of the opposite. There is another reference to Shakespeare’s play King Lear The choice of the romance The Tempest denotes the love relationship of Cocoa and George, which is bridged by Miranda, and the latter tragedy signifies the unpleasant happenings of fate that causes the death of the male counterpart.

Consequently, women writers’ voice express through literature is still unknown and unseen because it is born in a society that is controlled by the whites. The vistas of black diaspora is basilica to the aesthetic and ideological concern. The colonization of slave women between continental cultures, subscribe to an essential multi –landscape memory still the racks of empowerment through gallant literacy and bring in knowledge to others during before time stages and antagonism characterized the struggle of African-American women. They are ideal ultra-feminine as they are involved in reshaping and reinterpretation unpretentious actuality. Their writings display the feminist black women literary traditions . Barbara Smith, the black feminist critics says, “the ability of black women to survive the face of white America points to an innate feminist potential.” There is undoubtedly some verity in African proverb which says that until the lines begins to write his or her own story the hunter will always be a protagonist. Yes, the writer like Gloria Naylor is actual hunter, who has aged the war against racism, sexism and classism through her writing.

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