Mama Day

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  • Published : October 8, 1999
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The entire structure of Mama Day is fitting to the telling of multiple love stories entertwined. Like the most heartfelt episode of Seinfeld ever Gloria Naylor doesn’t tell a love story, but rather lays out in detail the events of everyday life for all of the central characters. In the process the love stories of the characters are all told at once. The most obvious example is the relationship between George and Cocoa (arguably the main love story). Through the book we see them meet, fall in love, and go through excitement and hardship; all that love is. There is also the love story of Mama Day, Abigail, and Cocoa. Even though Abigail is Cocoa’s grandmother and Mama Day is her great-aunt, they both take on the role of mother through their mutual love for her. There is also the love story between Bernice, Ambush and Little Caesar. Despite their squabbles, they love each other. Love is one of the major themes in this book. Gloria Naylor steps aside and lets the characters do her work for her. Love has the unfortunate nature of being objective and the best way to tell love stories is from every point of view. How else can one understand from the outside? On page one she starts with Cocoa telling her side of things and on twenty-two; here comes George’s side. And it continues on like this, back and forth, telling both sides of certain events through the fog that is each character’s own perception of things. This is a brilliant manipulation of point of views and one of the saving features of the book. The reader’s attention is caught when they have to re-associate themselves to a new point of view. In the ultimate representation of what love is this point of view switch is used to show likeness of thought between Ophelia and George toward the end of the novel. The words “OUR WORST FIGHT EVER” appear twice in the novel. Once at the beginning of Cocoa’s account of the event and again at the beginning of...
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