Waiting to Exhale

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Waiting to Exhale is connected to the ideology of the African American family because the characters in the story function as a family, helping each other survive emotional stress. The life of the average African American is burdened with a variety of social problems some, but not all of which, stem from their relative low-income status. Blacks are at higher risk of various life-threatening diseases than whites. The majority of African American families are affected by divorce, and many black women never marry. Having two incomes and a stable relationship with a spouse provides an economic safety net which many African American women lack. An example is Robin, an only child whose mother has recently had a double masectomy and whose father is stricken with Alzheimer's disease. Robin tries to give financial help to her family (as Savannah does to her own mother) but Robin is hampered by her destructive relationship with Russell. As Robin puts it, "The way things stand now, I'm living from paycheck to paycheck and can't even afford to help pay for a nurse for my daddy. That's pitiful. What the hell did I get a degree for Instead of being supportive, Russell is a leach who drains money from Robin at every |  |

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Waiting to Exhale counters one of the concepts of African American families by downplaying the role of religion. Although Gloria and Bernadine go to church (this is where they met), neither seems to be particularly religious. Robin's parents are Catholic and she was probably raised as such, but this does not seem to factor into her decision to have Russell's baby instead of having an abortion: "And this baby I'm carrying. I'm keeping it. Russell can do whatever he wants to do Savannah's mother is religious but has not succeeded in instilling a strong sense of religion into her daughter. All the characters coincide with my own point of view of the African American family. I view black women as being strong and...
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