Analytical Criticism: Women of Brewster Place

Topics: Love, The Women of Brewster Place, Gloria Naylor Pages: 6 (2553 words) Published: December 17, 2012
Tyra Hinton
AP English III
Ms. Parrish
20 April 2012
Strength in Numbers
Gloria Naylor, one of the most renowned writers in the African American culture, coexisting the 20th century wrote, The Women of Brewster Place, with the intent of giving hope to African American women around the world. As Naylor, wrote the book, she used pastoral interludes to keep God as the scapegoat for the women; however, she constantly contradicts the faith of Christianity by the situations they go through, such as: the characters ability to dream, (forcing them to doubt their faith and lust after things that are familiar to them), the characters having to suffer domestic violence, and the characters response to the tragedy they are faced with, in trying to be loved.

The Women of Brewster Place is a fictional portrayal of events that conspire during the challenging times of several women’s lives (Mattie Michaels, Etta Mae Johnson, Kiswana Browne, Lucielia ‘Ciel’ Louise Turner, Cora Lee, Lorraine, and Theresa). The novel consists of a second person omniscient view, allowing the reader to gain insight of the characters thoughts and feelings. The plotline is centered around the results of the civil rights movement, and takes place in the community of Brewster Place. As the world is fighting for equality of race and gender, Brewster Place serves as the resemblance of the world at large, filling itself with corrupt individuals. Despite the fact that Brewster Place is filled with corrupt individuals, it exists on the friendship and unity that each of the women contain in each other.

Internal evidence suggests that Naylor was Jehovah Witness and portrayed this in most of her novels, however, “there was an incredible explosion of black literature at the time and Naylor didn't even realize it. She witnessed for seven years, supporting herself as a switchboard operator, but eventually left the Jehovah's Witnesses because things weren't getting better, but worse”(Hall), making this very evident in her stories, “She creates corrupt fictional worlds in which characters must find some sort of sanctuary to be safe” (Hall). For example, when Ben gets drunk he begins to sing ‘Swing low, Sweet chariot’ a Christian hymn sung by Wallis Willis. He was inspired by the Red River, which reminded him of the Jordan River and of the Prophet Elijah being taken to heaven by a chariot. Why did Naylor choose this specific song but to show that in Ben’s time of hurt, he drank, and tried to allow him to feel as if he were closer to heaven by singing this Christian hymn? She goes on to tell Ben’s story and tells how he’s been hurting with the loss of his family, if she believes in the faith of Christianity then why doesn’t she allow him to see God himself when he was drunk, rather than singing a hymn that gives reference to someone or something of a greater power rather than God himself. This correspondence of the two doesn’t make sense to the spiritual invocations often used throughout the book. She isn’t consistent in her style of writing.

Naylor incorporates violence throughout a copious amount of her novels, dependent on strong emotions and moral conflicts. Naylor uses a way of expressing how love is able to shine throughout the characters but isn’t persistent in how she displays this in her style of writing, connecting the two human beings through domestic violence. Lucielia (Ciel), is a young woman who is in love with a man (Eugene), because he is able to protect her, despite the fact that becomes aggressive when he’s angry and takes his anger out on her. Ciel loved Eugene and would do anything to be with him even die by his side, but the betrayal she got when he didn’t come to his daughters (Serena) funeral was just the push she needed to walk into a new day. Eugene believed in expressing his love through the constant arguments and slaps across her face, while she felt that allowing him to treat her like that was her loving him. One day, Eugene and Ciel...
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