Alice Walker Essay

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Walker's personal narrative creates a glimpse into the reality of struggling black women who were nothing more than "the mule of the world" (672).

Her mother's history divulges how black women were forbidden to express themselves artistically. They were instead just used for pleasure by the mens in their life and not once ever acknowledged (669). Walker's mothers and grandmothers lives a lonely, sad, apathetic life while they could very well have been poets, writers, painters, sculptors, or musicians (670). Walker's deep inside account of these women reveals the devastating lives of artists who has a remain unheard till now. To the world around them, these women had no creativity and certainly no intelligence, which forced their creative thoughts into suppression. They were not allowed to have creative thoughts and not allowed to think of art, or anything other than the work they were assigned to do. This was breaking them further and further away from their creative instincts and deeper and deeper into the forced labor they had to carry out daily. However, even though these women were so beaten down and ruined by the world around them, that creativity was still present within them and, given the chance, they could have been the artists they were meant to be, if they could only escape the "evil honey" of the world around them and express themselves freely (669).

Walker cites Phyllis Wheatley, an 18th century slave who produced such exquisite works of poetry that people of her time were astonished that a black person could have the mental capacity to produce such works (671). At this point, Walker introduces an essay by Virginia Woolf titled "A Room of One's Own" in which Woolf argues that in order to be able to truly express herself through writing a woman needs a room and money of her own (671). Of course that was not the case with Phyllis, a sickly frail black slave girl, who does not even own herself (671). How then, asks Walker, were these Black women...
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