Essay about Disillusionment with Entering Adulthood in Angelina Grimké’s Rachel

Words: 1328
Pages: 6

The play Rachel, by Angelina Grimké, reveals the harsh realities of life for an African American family living in the United States during the early part of the 20th century. Focused on the central character Rachel Loving, the play reflects each character’s reaction to racial prejudice against African Americans. The themes of motherhood and the innocence of youth are vital pieces of the issues Grimké wished to portray in her work. The development of Rachel herself revolves around her changing perception of what the role of motherhood might be. This insight stems from her understanding of the importance of child-like innocence towards the terrible truths of the world in which we are surrounded by. Through the use of poignant dialogue and …show more content…
I want the feel of its little warm body against me, its breath on my neck, its hands against my face” (12). Grimké’s inclusion of this dialogue segment dramatically illustrates to readers Rachel’s desire for children. Rachel not only acts as if she is a child, she wishes to surround herself with children in order to fully eradicate all traces of the adult world. Conversely, further along in the play when Rachel begins to discover the harsh realities of the world around her, she no longer wishes to bear children. To Rachel, children represent an alternate reality; a reality that is absent of hate, adversity, and responsibility. In Rachel’s eyes, children represent everything that is good and pure; children are not capable of destruction. It is for these reasons that Grimké made Rachel the equivalent of a child, a person who is innocent, pure, and free-spirited. Moreover, stage directions are a fundamental aspect of Rachel. It is within the stage directions that hints to Rachel’s personality are given. For example, at the start of Act I readers are given a description of the Loving household along with a brief, yet important description of Rachel. The directions read: She brings into the room with her the spirit of abounding life, health, joy, and youth. Mrs. Loving pauses, needle in hand, as soon as she hears the turning key and the banging door (3). These directions note Rachel’s free-spirited nature and calming manner. The stage directions also highlight another