The award-winning novelist Gloria Naylor writes about strong-willed African-American women, and the men they love, who in spite of crushing poverty and racism find support, friendship, and hope within the black community. The Women of Brewster Place is Gloria Naylor's first novel and the winner of the 1983 American Book Award. Subtitled "A Novel in Seven Stories," the book brings together the lives of seven women who live in a walled-off "ghetto" neighborhood. The separate stories of the novel, however, belie a complex unity. Mattie Michael's story is the first and most fully developed. Her story begins with an account of her southern childhood and her adulthood as a single mother in a home with a generous and loving surrogate mother. Like the other characters, however, Mattie, too, "ends up" in Brewster Place. This analysis in connection to this novel will attempt to describe how authors develops the theme through the use of plot, character, setting, narrative point of view and any other literary devices and techniques?
Discussion and Analysis
The main characters of the story “The Two” are the women Lorraine and Theresa who attempts to work out their life mutually closeted from the homophobic world. Despite the suffering and pain represented in the novel, the story concludes with a trance hallucination of the community healed and transforming itself. Brewster Place is the setting in which they act on, and react to, the circumstances of their lives. Those circumstances are usually disheartening and usually caused by men, who are seen generally as malign forces. Throughout the story, males are shown as causing the adverse condition of women. Mattie Michael is a pleasant, God-fearing, churchgoing woman with moral strength, who, without the support of other women, might not have survived. Butch Fuller, when he impregnates her, not only destroys her relationship with her father but also changes the course of her life, possibly for the worse. Her father, in his angry frustration, nearly destroys her life when he beats her. Her son Basil breaks her heart by deserting her without a backward glance. Each time, a woman helps Mattie survive. Her mother rescues her from her father's savage beating by firing a shotgun close enough to his head to get his attention. Etta Mae gives her sanctuary so Mattie can have her child. Miss Eva gives her a home when the one she has becomes unlivable because of rats. The men in her life give little or nothing.
Etta Mae uses men all her life and apparently asks no more from them than she wants. She is a kind of floating concubine for most of her adult life, learning at an early age in Tennessee that her sexual charms attract men who are willing to pay for them. As she grows older and her looks and energy diminish, she wants to settle down, preferably with a kind man who will take care of her. She thinks the Reverend Mr. Moreland Woods is right for her. He seems “well-off,” ...