Essay on In Search of Our Mother's Gardens

1500 Words Nov 7th, 2000 6 Pages
In Search of Our Mother's Gardens

The essay "In Search of Our Mother's Gardens" by contemporary American novelist Alice Walker is one that, like a flashbulb, burns an afterimage in my mind. It is an essay primarily written to inform the reader about the history of African American women in America and how their vibrant, creative spirit managed to survive in a dismal world filled with many oppressive hardships. This piece can be read, understood, and manage to conjure up many emotions within the hearts and minds of just about any audience that reads it. However, Walker targets African American women in today's society in an effort to make them understand their heritage and appreciate what their mothers and grandmothers endured to
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She describes why these oppressed black women were named "Saints," and at the conclusion of her essay, she uses her own mother as an example, and her own questions about her mother's ability to keep her creative spirit alive throughout her everyday struggles.
Her tone was easily distinguished; as a reader I could tell when Walker was angry or sympathetic about a particular subject. For instance, when telling the story of Phillis Wheatley, the reader can see that she is saddened and considerate as to why Phillis wrote about her master, the "goddess," in the way that she did: But at last, Phillis, we understand. No more snickering when your stiff, struggling, ambivalent lines are forced on us. We know now that you are not an idiot or a traitor; only a sickly little black girl, snatched from your home and country and made a slave; a woman who still struggled to sing the song that was your gift, although in a land of barbarians who praised you for your bewildered tongue. It is not so much what you sang, as that you kept alive, in so many of our ancestors, the notion of song (p 698).

It is apparent that Walker feels compassion for Phillis in this passage. Her tone was very effective in letting the reader know her emotional feelings toward a certain topic, and encourages the reader to become emotional about the subject as well. After reading and understanding the hardships of the African American women in

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