Our name identifies us in many ways. It connects us to who we are and connects us to our family. White people have had the power to express what identifies them best and black people really never got the chance to experience what identity is, it has always been prearranged for them. This passage’s main point is about identity and breaking out of the silence that the whites have had over the black people, about taking control and breaking the norms. In this story, Margaret is angry with the fact that Viola Cullinan calls her by ‘Mary’ just for her convenience because Margaret is too long.
“Twenty years. I wasn’t much older than you. My name used to be Hallelujah. That’s what Ma named me, but my mistress gave me ‘Glory,’ and it stuck. I likes it better too.”
Miss Glory, the cook, mentions that her real name was ‘Hallelujah’ and that her mistress gave her the name ‘Glory’ and it stuck. It stuck for twenty years but claims she likes that name better anyway and “It’s shorter too.” This shows how much power the whites had over the blacks. They were a much more superior race.
Margaret mentions Mr. Cullinan only briefly. Margaret states “Her (Mrs. Cullinan) husband remains, but in my memory, undefined. I lumped him with all the other white men that I had ever seen and tried not to see.” So I thought that she didn’t have any kind of relationship with Mr. Cullinan if she tried to ignore and not face him. It then starts talking about how he has two daughters with a colored woman and from my assumption, I think that he raped the colored woman since this did often happen in the 1930s. Margaret talks about the girls’ father and then says “I was unable to remember what he looked like, although I had just left him a few hours before, but I thought of the Coleman girls.” I was troubled by this. What does Margaret mean she just left him? And if she did just leave him, why was she unable to remember his face? I didn’t know what this meant