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The theme of equality for African American women in their communities are similar themes for Paule Marshall and Alice Walker. They both connect with women of the past and these indentities they connect with.Both women’s identification is related to the exposure of African American culture throughout their lives. Walker states that: Therefore we must pull out of ourselves and look at and identify with our lives the living creativity some of our great-grandmothers were not allowed to know. I stress some of them because it is well-known that the majority of our great-grandmothers knew without even “knowing” it, the reality of their spirituality, even if they didn’t recognize it beyond what happened in the singing at church (Walker, 1996: 2318-2319).
Alice Walker believe it is important to identify with the subconscious and spirituality of African American women. Alice Walker expresses creative spirituality and culture through her writings which became a bridge that connects the gap between African-American women of the past their search for self-expression. Even though she had the opportunity and freedom to write, she could identify with the racism faced by her ancestors. She is connected with the hardship and tribulations that African American women was subjected to and this is how she identifies herself with the ancestors of African American women. She defines a creative spirt as an expression of African American women through everyday things such as songs and quilt-making, “Everyday Use” because these were an expression of art to African American ancestors and could not be taken from them.
Paule Marshall’s African-American ancestor’s identification is from her mother and her mother’s friends. Her essays identify with her mother’s African-American tradition she expressed. She describes the kitchen setting in “Poets in The Kitchen” she was exposed to as a child and the strong self-expression is a form of art in keeping African tradition alive was in integral part of their lives. (Marshall, 1996: 1948) Marshall’s felt independence is through ‘the spoken word’ which was the ultimate expression of art and a sense of power because during her mother’s era women were powerless and they would express themselves in their kitchens. These conversations taught Marshall her first lesson in narrative art. She states, “They trained my ear. They set a standard of excellence. That is why my best work must be attributed to them; it stands as a testimony, to the rich legacy of language and culture they so freely passed on to me in the word shop of the kitchen” (Marshall, 1996: 1952). Alice Walker’s essay, “In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens” and Paule Marshall, “Poets in The Kitchen” focus on African-American women of the past and how these women had impacted their writings. These women inspired both to become African American writer which uses to different means of expression, Alice Walker expresses independence through creative spirit and Paule Marshall through spoken word to celebrate these women’s lives.
In conclusion, both of the African American writers express the importance of identity, independence and inspiration. They have connected with their ancestors and found a common identity and found them as an inspiration to their writings. They both many similarities as well as differences but have the goal as to inspire women and tell their stories.
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