references have left her feeling alien her own skin. Returning to the reference of the mirror in the poem, it is clear that the alienation is based on a belief that things should be otherwise and that the reflections failure to look like the acceptable image in the minds of the young women is seen as a betrayal. Whereas Walker's woman is triumphant in the end, even in death, Smith's woman, who may also be dead, is consumed by far more pedestrian matters of the heart.
In both pieces the very last image is one of death. Smith's death imagery manifests itself in the form of a male grabbing a woman and collapsing her into his fingers (Smith, line 20). On the other hand, the death of old woman in Walker's short story is far from metaphorical; her death is quite literal and very visceral. While there is room to interpret the story ending in the Smith poem as an ending which is related to heartbreak or the end of a relationship or the loss of a woman's identity in the context of the relationship, there is no alternative interpretation of the old woman's passing (Walker, 87). Her animation at getting to see Jesus even as she has been evicted from the lord's house as it would be called is metaphorical and literal at the same time. Her death, on the other hand, the one where there is a dead old woman's body on the side of the highway where she had been spotted walking is quite literal. In the end the similarities of both the authors and the characters outweigh the differences. Although, it must be said that one has a triumphant ending and the other one is darker.
Byrd, R.P. & Gates R., H. (2011) Jean Toomer's Conflicted Racial Identity. Chronicle of Higher Education, 57(23), B5-B8(3), pp. 31-46.
Macdonald, G. (2010) Scottish Extractions: Race and Racism in Devolutionary Fiction. Orbis Litteraium, 65(2), pp. 79-107.