ENG125: Introduction to Literature 125
Instructor: Benjamin Daw
April 23, 2012
African American women have managed to keep some form of uniqueness through self- definition, at the same time, in itself have managed to establish themselves as powerful factors in times of difficult situations and oppression. Many acts of protest took place during the civil rights era. The protest allowed the government to take action against the powerful movement of the African American’s during the civil rights era. In addition, to the chaotic time period in which Patricia Smith and Alice Walker based their writing off of, the civil rights era, allowed them to gain the attention of the oppressive White American to change the treatment of African American people. In this paper, I will compare two literary works from this course that share the same theme and will consider the relationships among the following elements, such as content, form, and style.
In comparing the two readings the “The Welcome Table,” by Alice Walker, and “What it’s like to be a Black Girl,” by Patricia Smith, shows the content in which reveals the main theme of how African American women were treated during such troublous times. According to “Gendering the Movement Black,” women fought continuously over the years to resist negative gender roles in which were presented in media and also in reality. One way that negative images were resisted was in their working to maintain or recreate identity through language. African American women who maintained a connection to their culture through music, at the same time helping to foster an identity for African American women.
Forms of protest that was carried out during the two authors time period were practiced to ban discrimination based off of national origin, color, race, and religion. African Americans re-entered politics in the South, and across the country young people were inspired to action. The Civil Rights Movement transpired from 1955 to 1965 and is the time period in which the two forms of literary work are used. American women have been oppressed by society and how they search for acceptance. Voting rights for African America during this time, African American’s were treated poorly and many civil rights activists took a stand to fight against the oppression by the White Americans. Oppression from the whites was communicated by verbal and physical abuse. As a result of such treatment, African American’s struggled for self definition and struggled with their identity. Mostly African American Women struggled the most and endured discriminative treatment from whites and African American Men. That is why in the time period of the civil rights which were women defined themselves through music, poems, hymns, and other types of literary works (Clugston 2005). The short story “The Welcome Table,” written by Alice Walker and poem “What it’s Like to be a Girl,” by Patricia Smith, provides a deeper insight to how African American Women fought to find their place in society during oppression.
“The Welcome Table,” was a short story whom was written by Alice Walker. Walker, A. (2003) in times where black African American women’s worth and value was oppressed by society. According to Alice Walker’s experience in life, she takes an active participation in civil rights demonstrations led by Martin Luther King, Jr. Roden, M. (1999). She felt a need to do so because of how much she was oppressed by the white people. She overcame the trials she faced and has taught gender studies at Wellesley College stated as in the reading. Roden, M. (1999). This explains in her part why her publications include poems, short stories, and novels. Clugston, R. W. (2010). African American woman in the 1960’s suffered major issues of race and therefore addresses issues of race and gender. Roden, M. (1999). It forms the center of the literary work and originates from her experience during the Civil Rights Era. It is