African-American Literature - Alice Walker Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

" She wasn't an "old collie turned out to die," but some people apparently had pity on her and saw her that way. That is a good metaphor, "old collie," and Walker also explains that she was "the color of poor gray Georgia earth, beaten by king cotton and the extreme weather."

Walker is just as effective using similes (82): Her elbows were "wrinkled and thick, the skin ashen but durable, like the bark of old pines." She word an old "mildewed black dress" with missing buttons, and when people saw her, some "saw the age, the dotage," and others saw in her "cooks, chauffeurs, maids, mistresses, children denied or smothered in the deferential way she held her cheek to the side..."

All these descriptions are stereotypes that people have of an old black woman, and Walker packs this story with descriptions of those stereotypes. The reader has a whole lot of images to plug into, to take one's pick up, in sizing up this woman. How could some people see "riotous anarchists looting and raping in the streets" when they saw this sad old women? How could others see "jungle orgies in an evil place"? The truth is, Walker is pointing out how prejudice against a race of people, in this case, African-Americans, can create all kinds of negative images and stereotypes in the minds of racists. When they see an old black woman, they think of riots, because some black inner city communities have burned down during riots? So, they link the color of a woman's skin with all the negative images they have in their heads about blacks?

Would it be fair for a black person to think of Adolf Hitler every time a she sees a white man? There is a point of fairness in society that a lot of people haven't reached, and a lot of people can't get past their narrow bigoted ways, and this is what Walker is apparently alluding to in this story.

On page 84, readers begin to assume the old woman is confused, and perhaps homeless, and certainly in the wrong church. But the usher wasn't polite in telling her she had to go out of this house of God, which is an irony from Walker. A house of God and some people aren't welcome because of the way they look? Is that right? "God, mother, country, earth, church. It involved all that, and well they knew it," Walker writes on 84. And the women in the rich church who dared their "burly indecisive husbands" to throw the old black woman out, wore "good calfskin gloves, and looked "with contempt at the bloodless gray arthritic hands of the old woman."

So they threw the old woman out, then sang and prayed and meantime outside the old woman sees Jesus coming down the highway "at a firm but leisurely pace."

And the old woman tells Jesus about her life, as they walked past her "forlorn and sagging, weather-beaten and patched" house, she did not even see it, she was so delighted to be with Jesus.

She seemed to be walking on clouds, able to look over the treetops, Walker writes, and the reader can guess that the old woman actually died, and is in heaven. There are guesses in the story from people who wondered what happened to her, and Walker leads up to the understated ending by point out that black families said they had seen her "high-stepping down the highway"; the white folks in the church heard "sometime later" that an old "colored woman" had fallen and died on the highway. But the crowning moment in the story, the sad part of the story, is the last sentence, on page 87. Understatement builds the characters around the old women in this line: "they guessed maybe she had relatives across the river, some miles away, but none of them really knew." That's the key: all the people who saw her could do is guess as to what she was doing or who she was, because nobody had taken the time to find out. "...none of them really knew."

Works Cited

Walker, Alice.…[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"African-American Literature - Alice Walker" (2005, May 03) Retrieved December 4, 2016, from

"African-American Literature - Alice Walker" 03 May 2005. Web.4 December. 2016. <>

"African-American Literature - Alice Walker", 03 May 2005, Accessed.4 December. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Importance of African American Literature

    African-American Literature The Implications of African-American Literature Social Economic Environmental Cultural How African-American Literature Has Changed -- Across the Genres Slave Narratives and Biographies Novels African-American Literature and Its Impact on Society Literature is very important. Many people love to read, and still others love to write. Together, they make a winning combination. Literature is often studied, but one aspect of it has been getting very little attention. African-American literature has often times been ignored, or been only selectively

  • African American Women and Womanist Theology

    In search for honest leadership in the church she wrote "Character is the first qualification," without that, the minister is a menace." She stated that ministers should have a clean and unselfish purpose, be innovative, dedicated to the issues of the community, sincere in their mission and not lazy. In effort to stay true to her vision for black women, Burroughs introduced "Women's Day" to the National Baptist Convention in

  • African American Males Between the Ages of 15

    African-American males between the ages of 15 and 24 are at relatively higher risk of suicide according to Center for Disease control and prevention. Since 1980s the suicide rate has increased tremendously and many young seemingly successful males are committing suicide following years of suffering from chronic depression. Such cases highlight the importance of recognizing signs of depression young males but since researches and studies do not always reach parents

  • African American Perception of Police the

    ..'Let there be light..." (Genesis 1:3, NKJV) on this dark subject. CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW all Americans are the prisoners of racial prejudice." - Shirley Chisholm (b. 1924), African-American politician (Columbia, 1996) 2.1: All American Affected. Racial prejudice, which frequently leads to unfair acts do not just imprison the race receiving the prejudice. As Chisholm notes at the start of this section, racial prejudice imprisons all Americans. The following three synopsis reflect a sampling

  • African American Males and the Correlation

    Other evidence suggests patterns of dependence symptoms and alcohol abuse may be linked with depressive or other disorders in adolescents, which may progress into adulthood leading to criminal activity (Martin, Kaczynski, Maisto & Bukstein, 1995; Kessler, et. al, 1996; Kilpatrick, et. al, 2000). Other evidence links aggressive behavior later in life with affective disorders in adolescence or young adulthood which may contribute to adult violent tendencies (Downey & Walker, 1992; Elze,

  • African American Women Who Have Lost

    However, conventional beliefs that there is low rate for African-American involvement in suicidal activities, there exists minimal focus on learning the possible suicide patterns among African-Americans. Social workers are not aware of the risks and protectiveness among African-Americans. This gives room for misinterpretation of facts concerning self-destructive activities of African-Americans. The research further stresses the importance of social workers to the study of suicide among African-Americans. They also have the

  • HIV in African American Women Does

    What they found was that religiosity played a significant role in predicting the level of religious stigma, which led to beliefs that HIV/ADIS might be a curse or punishment from God (Muturi & an, 2010). This leads to the conclusion that faith-based organizations could play an important role in HIV / AIDS prevention and treatment in the community. Anyone familiar with HIV research is aware of the high correlation between

Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved