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In one of the episodes of’’ view’’, a television series, Tyler Perry and other producers, directors and actors explained that they had an initial fears in accepting and adapting the legendary film ‘’ for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enough by Ntozake Shange. According to the director and producer this film was simply out of the ordinary. He insists that in the beginning, he said no to this film, but it kept coming back to him. However, before Perry made up his mind Lions gate that film’s distributer announced that the author of the film was spearheading the film. Critics suggest that Perry has not only wrestled in this film but has also passionately connected the testimonials with the characters in the film. The author is an exemplary woman born in the year 1948. She is one of the greatest women in history who is self proclaimed as a feminist. Most of her work addresses and relates to race and feminism. Shange has written unique blend of music, poetry, drama and dance. Her works not only provoked heated exchanges at the time but also took the theatre and literary world with a storm. She was enraged against society limitations, which were imposed on black women. This paper seeks to discuss and analyze Ntozake’s life as a colored woman.
According to creating minds by Howard Gardner only one woman can be recognized as a ‘creative genius’. The big question is ‘can Ntozake fit into this creativity model? Well, she definitely fits into this model. This is because her musical, kinesthetic, spatial and interpersonal skills and talents can be categorized as intelligence. Her works as a writer and artist greatly many awards and maintained a literary presence in the literary world. She had many creative achievements such as in ‘’ in three pieces Mississippi meets Amazon, A daughters geography and see no evil amongst many others. Ntozake was brought up in a middle class household and was the eldest of the 4 siblings. Ntozake’s life and art was greatly influenced by early cultural and artistic influences. This was because her family often had variety shows on Sunday afternoons, which consisted of Shakespeare collections. Her father performed the congas and the other children played many different instruments and danced along (Neal, 135).
The author was one of the first black children to be integrated into a public school system. In the first years in school, she experienced violence, cruelty from white racists. In this way, her anger grew, and independence strengthened the fighting spirit in her. Her life in college and in school enraged her. She later separated with her husband. After the separation, Ntozake attempted to commit suicide many times. Ntozake’s anger towards women’s oppressive experiences birthed a talent in her. Ntozake suggested in most of her work that black women should not rely on black men but should always rely on themselves in order to become whole and complete. She was also concerned about many women who are disinherited or dispossessed by the same. According to the author, she is a warrior as well as a writer. She fights her battles with the racist and feminism in her writing (Nelson, 387).
Analysts have elucidated the environment and circumstances that Influenced the author’s divorce, Feminism and Work. All the pages of her work have been stained by harsh battles and push backs. This simply means that before the author makes the actors and actresses kick and scream on the dance floor, she has already experienced the same in real life. She is a unique woman that is able to follow her end to the end of the rainbow. Shange’s experiences influenced her feminist attributes and work. From her childhood, she suffered from white feminists and racists. Shange was in a very abusive marriage which influenced her divorce. She went through bitter experiences as a black woman. Shange’s experiences and beliefs on the same have greatly influenced her work feminist stance. In this way, her primary goal was to help the black woman and give them a voice against a harsh and cruel world (Finney, 80).
The author is entrapped by many conditions, experiences and beliefs of the female world, which influenced her work in a way that gave her strength and will expose the black woman’s fragility and collective experiences suffered by the same. Shange explores this attributes through joy, music, dance, pain, love and passion. This clear shows that, despite all the obstacles, a black woman can still rise again regardless of how they are irreparable broken.
Shange’s understanding of how feminism and racism can break women down is influenced by the same to appreciate and understand women’s struggle. Shange has also been influenced by many other artists, her family, background and culture. She was one of the first black children to be integrated into a public school. This exposed her to the cruelty of white racist and feminist. In college, her writing career was looked down upon because of her feminism views and attributes. Shange felt that the society was unfair to most intelligent women. She tried to commit suicide many times but did not succeed. This influenced her believe that all black women should not rely on black men but on themselves.
The use of unconventional English by the user was influenced by her struggle in making an articulate resolution in her work. In this case, she preferred using complex themes and unorthodox spelling, punctuation and capitalization in her work. She work believes, and feminism has not only influenced other young writers but has also greatly helped black women all over the world.
The author uses a familiar language and innovative language to develop the major or the principal thematic concerns. The thematic concerns were; racial and sexual anger, oppression and survival in a racist and a sexist society and the realities of being a black female in America. In all her works, she disregarded all the standard rules used in English language such as punctuations and grammar. She has repeated this unique technique throughout her work. The other technique that author uses is a speech pattern and dialect of Black English. This helps to enhance the entire body of work and ensure that there is a flow and coherence in her poetry. In some of her works, she uses juxtapositions in order to exemplify the Black African struggles against cultural ideals and ideas (Peterson, 302).
There is a very limited separation between gender and race issues in all the authors’ work. This is because she tries to elaborate the fact that she could not be on the same side with sexists and racists. The idea the Ntozake presents is that black people especially women and children constantly struggle and negotiate while trying to build their lives and identities in a society that devalues them because of the femaleness and their blackness.
The first book, for colored girls reveals the authors anger to the fact that black women are limited and confined by white patriarchy mandate. According to the author, it is clear that most if not all black women suffer from a white sexist and racist culture that is all around them. Ntozake uses her chronicle frustration, abuse and oppression history to drive her point’s home. She admires and praises all the black women who have a self love for the femaleness and blackness (Gavin, 193). She also admires black women who have suffered emotional pain, physical pain, rejection and loneliness but have risen up above the despair. In this way, she adopts the black women theme in relation to having the will power to overcome and adapt to life in spite of all the pain and misfortunes in their lives.
The author’s experiences from the failed marriage and multiple suicide attempts are used as a theme to present the black women endurance on the same. In many interviews, Ntozake admits that she writes her works from her experiences and from what she knows. According the author, all her books are a combination of intellectual work and fiction. She uses this theme to present other women’s experiences such as optimism and joy. Her prose and poetry depicts a unique journey that women take in order to develop selfhood and fight against alternating and conflicting emotions. This simply means that her works favors fragments, presents fleeting images, sustains complete thoughts, embraces circularity and rejects linearity. Ntozake’s works thematically and stylistically question the relationships between self and the body. In this way, the author experiments through her experiences, knowledge, and language to bring out an intricate genre blending (Shange, 106).
Many critics have praised the author’s works. This is because of the honesty, passion, musicality, mastery of words and originality. The critics have also recognized the author’s feminism, use of innovative language, political stance and other musicality aspects. However, other reviews have suggested that the author’s works have numerous punctuation and spelling mistakes or distracting. In answer to these questions, the author suggests that her poems and other works convey a sense of music, movement and dance.
The business of making sense of life was Ntozake’s first step as a part of American literature, which reflects on the human literature genre. The characteristics of the African American literature are that; it contains oral poetry, which is a very popular class of the cultural literature. It is simple and touching. The other characteristic is prose. Prose is simply the slave narrative that tries to describe the sufferings of the slaves.
The author uses three genres. These are novels poems and plays. She used a genre of fiction and invented a new genre which she called a choreopoem genre. In the play, three pieces, the genre used by the author was an experimental theatre piece. It was about a woman’s dream, memories and experiences and was presented in a consciousness style and through dances and songs. This play explores the lives of black men and women in America (Williams, 514). In the novel, Sassafras, cypress and indigo, the author uses a three pieces and full length piece genre. The story is about two sisters who have chosen two different paths. One sister chooses to live her life with a junkie who mentally and physically abuses her and the other sister chooses to become a feminist. However, both sisters have to cope and deal with insecurities, frustrations and pain.
In the play, Daughters geography II, A, the author uses a two acts genre. The play is based on a woman’s experience on the planet. It touches on the aspects in the new world as compared to the slavery ages or times (Nelson, 421). It also explores many nationalists and feminist issues that arise from emotional and ethnic content. In the book, dreamed dwellings, the genre used by the author is a performance and installation piece. In the book, for colored girls, a choreopoem genre is used. This book explores many different facets, color symbolism, dance, utilization of poetry and a black woman’s psyche. In this book, the author presents black women as all human and as humans who have to go through the business of surviving even when they are knocked down repeatedly.
In the book, From Okra to greens, the author uses a theatre piece and a full length piece genre. In the book, it has not always been this way; the author uses a full length and a choreopeoam genre. In the book, mother courage and her children, the author uses an adaptation genre. This story is based on seventeenth century. It is about a mother who is also an emancipated slave. In the book photograph, A: lovers in motion II, the author use a poem play genre. The book is about an ambitious photographer and the relationship between him and the three women in his life. He poses as a strong black male but later when he is rejected, his façade collapses. In the book, where Mississippi meets the Amazon, the author has used a cabaret and full length genre (Shange, 32).
The author explores the victimization of black women and exposes their emotional lives and experiences. She also explores the obstacles faces by the same in a racist and feminist society. She suggests that other times women may be defeated, but other times they may conquer. According to the author defeat does not mean giving up but is a new lease to conquer all the negativity in their lives. The author suggests that it is very important for women to celebrate the positive attributes in their lives and reconstruct their lives.