A Woman’s Work
With a collection of fourteen short stories Alice Walker tells the impressive, emotional, and often comical, story of women beaten down but not broken. Women who refuse to accept failure and persevere through all obstacles in their way. These women overcome adversities such as poverty, abortion, rape, and abuse. Stories about finding new friends and disconnecting with old ones, having fame and fortune to having nothing, and falling in and out of love show how living in today’s society can become burdening, but as the title says You can’t keep a Good Woman Down. She focuses on imagery, use of detail, tone, and strong dialect to tell these powerful stories. These strategies allow her to keep the readers interested while also keeping them connected with her thoughts and emotions throughout book.
Walker uses imagery to describe her surrounding thoughts and feelings. For example “It was like a rug, that grass was, so springy and silky and deep” (page 21, how did I get away with killing one of the biggest lawyers in the state? It was easy). By saying this she illustrates her feelings toward how she remembers the grass a child with this simile. She also expresses imagery through metaphors. For Instance “At dinner then they sat together, looking out at the blue New England mountain in the distance, as the sun left tracings of orange and pink against the blue sky.” (page. 33The lover) this description of a sunset tells the reader what time of day it is and also what mood the story is about to shift in.
Walker uses specific details to show character and plot development. One of these details is dialect. She writes as she would speak throughout majority of the book. For example on page 3 and four of Nineteen Fifty-Five: Well I say to J.T., put your shirt on, anyway, and let me clean these glasses offa the table. We had been watching the ballgame on TV. I wasn’t actually watching, I was sort of daydreaming, with my foots up in J.T.’s lap. I seen ‘em coming on up the walk, brisk, like they coming to sell something, and then they rung the bell, and J.T. declined to put on a shirt but instead disappeared into the bedroom where the other television is. I turned down the one in the living room; I figured I’d be rid of these two double quick and J.T. could come back out again. This strategy is not only to show the characters diction and what seem to me, Education level, but it also showed the time the story is set in and the location the characters were in. She also uses illustrative detail such as the paragraph on page 15 from nineteen fifty-five:
This boy’s house is something else. First you come to this mountain, and then you commence to drive and drive up this road that’s lined with magnolias. Do magnolias grow on mountains? I was wondering. And you come to lakes and you and you come to ponds and you come to deer and you come up on some sheep. And I figure these is sposed to represent England and Wales. And you just keep coming to stuff.
Illustration is the use of examples to make ideas more concrete and to make generalizations more specific and detailed. Examples enable writers not just to tell but to show what they mean. For