Alice Walker Essay

“In Search of our Mothers’ Gardens” by Alice Walker EssayHow would you choose to overcome mutilation, abuse, disrespect, and suppression? Would you want to talk to someone about it? Would you simply cry? Well, imagine if how you yearned to cope with adversity is to express yourself via song, to write a poem about your experiences, or even to paint a picture of the scene. Now imagine that this form of coping, this freedom of expression, this desire to share your creativity is being stripped away from you—forbidden. Imagine that in order to exercise the marvels of creativity you must do so in secrecy, anonymously, and if otherwise implemented, it is deemed unlawful. Up until the late 1900s, this is what African American women had to endure. They were mistreated and discriminated against, and those who chose creative expression as their panacea for their spiritual distress did not let the laws nor the ominous threats of society hinder their ability to utilize it. In her essay “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens”, Alice Walker recounts her mother’s story in order to demonstrate how African American women did not succumb to the menacing white “goddesses’” oppression of creativity and enforcement of anonymity, but rather fought to call themselves “artists”.
For some individuals, creative expression is vital in order to overcome hardships. African American women especially are known for being extremely spiritual and thus often use creativity to cope with obstacles in their lives. Walker uses the example of the poet Jean Toomer who experienced living in the South in the early twenties to demonstrate this. At this time, African Americans were not able to fully exercise the same rights as whites. It was considered unlawful for them to express themselves the ways that they desired, and thus Toomer notes that they have had to bear the burdens that everyone else neglects to carry. She refers to them as “exquisite butterflies trapped in an evil honey, toiling away their…

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