Analysis Of In The Kitchen By Henry Louis Gates

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“In the kitchen” is a short story of the author Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s experience with understanding the significance of “the kitchen”, his family, history, the notion of good and or bad hair and the background on African American products. The understanding of the experience allows him to clearly describe the importance on why he thinks and functions a certain way. Henry expresses two sides of “the kitchen” and “In the kitchen”. “In the kitchen” highlights his mother’s hair at-home business, the discovery of his roots and how his family expresses their view on the notion good and or bad hair, and the wonders of the straightening comb (“hot comb”). “The kitchen” highlights the kinks that lay on the back of your neck and even …show more content…
The author discusses the fact that “I told her not to do it, because I didn 't like the politics it suggested – the notion of good and bad hair. Good hair was straight; bad hair was kinky”. (Henry Louis Gates, Jr ,1994, p. 60). “In the kitchen” and “The kitchen” have two different symbolic meanings. The author discusses “In the kitchen” as a place where his mother straightened her African American clients’ hair with a straightening comb and in the process his mother would have to wash her clients’ hair in the tub where the mother would wash their hair in a white bra. The significance of this in relation to the authors’ family and African Americans is that during the time of the 1950’s, companies only created white bras and didn’t consider making different color tones of bras all due to the acceptance of white women and the appeal of …show more content…
Henry stated “We used to put hot towels or washrags over our Murray-coated heads, in order to melt the wax into the scalp and the follicles.” He continues to plead “I always wondered what Fredrick Douglass put on his hair, or what Phillis Wheatley put on her head in the little engraving in the frontispiece of her book” (Henry Louis gates, jr ,1994, p. 62). “So many black people still get their hair straightened that it’s a wonder we don’t have a national holiday for Madame C.J. Walker, the woman who invented the process of straightening kinky hair” (Henry Louis gates, jr ,1994, p.62). Henry makes valid points addressing innovation of African Americans, and the appraisal of the woman who created the product that gave birth to the kitchen.
The kitchen is vital to the family and African American identity when society is involved. Society produces a lot of negative advertisement and notions that deprive African Americans hair from being at its best. The kitchen allows African Americans to embrace their diversity and allow them to have options in society. Author Lanita Jacobs Huey testifies “Black hairstyles as indicators of racial consciousness, the suitability of Afrocentric hairstyles at work, and the extent to which cultural notions of “good” versus “bad” hair continue to privilege Eurocentric standard of beauty” (Jacobs-Huey, L.,

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