Death is a common theme in many works of Black American literature. Death goes hand in hand with the concept of an epiphany. Why would think that you ask well because before the main character dies physically he or she dies mentally, spiritually, emotionally, psychologically and socially. Many times the final physical death is just ascension from a naive state to a state of understanding and appreciation. Just as is with the stages of an epiphany the character goes through stages until they finally appreciates them. This is exactly the scenario that plays out in Alice Walker's novel "Possessing the Secret of Joy." The main character, Tashi, goes through a many different forms of death before she finally dies physically. Tashi goes thought an emotional, psychological, social, spiritual and a physical death that results in an epiphany-like ending.
Tashi, also known Evelyn, started her death emotionally began to paint the giant chicken monster all over Mzee's wall.
Her death was sparked when she saw the film where there was a "large fighting cock" which filled her with "such an overwhelming fear that I fainted." (73) Then Tashi began to start painting pictures of chickens larger and larger until finally the only place that was large enough to draw her chicken was the bedroom wall in Mzee's house. Her emotional death continued when Pierre arrived at the house for the first time and she hit him with a bunch of rocks. "Still chatting they did not notice the dark spectre floating near them: first to the door...alighting to stoop beside a large pile of stones I had begun to collect the very day I learned of Pierre's birth.... A large jagged stone, gray as grief, struck him just above the teeth." (145) It is here where she finally lost it emotionally.