There Is Confusion Jessie Fauset's novel There Is Confusion explores the limited oppurnities of colored women in 1924, and how they struggled to make better lives for their families as well as themselves.This book explores the period of the Harlem Renaissance when families migrated from rural areas of the south to the north for a better life. It also showed how diverse Harlem was during this period because of the migration. One women in particular I will focus on in this essay is Joanna Marshall. Joanna was interested in the field of asthetics and began to build her life around what she loved best , which was music and art.
Joanna was the youngest of four siblings and her father's favorite. Her father Joel Marshall always had high expectation for Joanna and knew she would be someone special someday. Joanna resembled her father and everything that Joanna wanted to acheive he admired that even though his goals in life were never accomplished, because he had to provide for his family.
The Marshall family always got by and and Joanna always had it easy because she was spoiled."She was only ten -then, yet her voice was already free of the shyness of child hood and beginning to assume that liquid golden quality which so distinguished it later." (pg 15) "Yet when she heard Joanna sing that Easter Sunday, she seized Joel Marshall's arm. Get her a teacher , Mr. Marshall. She has a voice in ten thousand. Poor child how will you have to work". pg 15) But Joanna wasn't listening, her eyes sought her father's . Both of them knew at once hat the road to glory was streching out before her." (pg 15) While pursuing her career in singing and dancing Joanna began to understand that her color had alot to do with her not getting a job in the performance industry and that hurt her. She felt she was an American before anything else. She was soon recognized and her first play was "Coming ! The Philadelphia Orchestra MR. Hubert Sanderson Conductor December 27th, 1910 Mr. Thomas Morse will present Miss Joanna Marshall Mezzo-Soprano of New York." (pg 120) After this play others followed. "Since Joanna's gifts were those of singing and dancing , he hoped to make her famous the country over Of course he would have preferred a more serious form of endowment. But as it was Joanna 's must be developed. Joel Marshall believed in using the gifts nearest at hand." (pg 191) " And don't think anything about being colored, " he used to say. " (pg 191) While reading this book I realized that Fauset's may have compared the character Joanna to herself and the way she grew up. Fauset included a lot of things about her in Joanna's character. We also know that Joanna was very active in The Harlem Renaissance as far as singing and dancing in plays. Fauset was also very active in the Harlem Renaissance. Joanna became a changed person because she understood her blackness and even though she did not want to except it, she did and performing still played a major part of her life." In depicting work for African American women , Fauset's There Is Confusion set out new directions and expands old ones . Employment for women of every class seems logical and natural in the novel, and it appears necessary for the female's full defintion of self. " (pg xxi) Her desire to have a career , though overwhelming , is not aberrant , it follows as one extension of her father's own longing for work in accord with his natural talents and devlops without constriction by gender barriers."(pg xxi) For Joanna growing up in a time where being colored only got you but she needed to be uplifted by her race. In order to go out and pursue her career. If more blacks so this little colored girl performing and putting her heart into her work., then this would encourage a lot of other African American people to do the samething." Joanna has exercised a choice for a larger impact on history and bigger share in the creation of the future than she believed her artistics career would allow." (pg xxi)