Black Women Writers @ Southwestern University

An English / Feminist Studies / Race & Ethnicity Studies Course Blog

Let down!

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Well, after reading the entire novel I was a little disappointed with the abrupt ending after so much leading up to that awesome climax. Gwen and Dana walk into the shop crossing all boundaries, knowing there’s no turning back, and then one little scene passes and BOOM, epilogue and she’s thirty. I wanted to see more about how James was going to have to suffer and how his absence would have shaped Dana further. I also wanted to see how Gwen felt about her decision to tell the wife and in turn, sacrifice the husband and father of Dana. I wonder if Dana even had a say in revealing the big family secret. Perhaps at that point, when Dana started to hang with Chaurisse more, Gwen felt that it was the perfect opportunity to release the burden she had bared for so long. The ending was just didn’t give me much satisfaction. Maybe Jones and Morrison envisioned the drastic change from start/middle to last few pages as eventful or ironic or something, but it only frustrated me. I didn’t like it in The Color Purple either.

What I did like was Gwen’s complexity of character. She was pretty ambiguous, and we know she went through a lot, but there were definitely some things that needed to be unpacked along the way. Although Gwen’s confrontation in the shop was inevitable, I was disappointed with Gwen’s immaturity. From the perspective of psycho-analysis, the defense mechanism she used was projection. The audience knows that she’s really only angry (pissed) at James, but instead she projects it onto Chaurisse and Laverne. To Laverne maybe I can understand, but to Chaurisse (all of that smug attitude in her apartment) was a low blow. Today we talked about disability, and I felt like this was Gwen’s. The inability to access emotions and process them in a healthy manner.  This ultimately blinds her and deeply impacts her role as the angry mistress, the neglected wife, and the dysfunctional parent.

I really wished we could have seen more of her character, and what she takes on as a bold, independent mamma proceeding her and James’ separation. 😦

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