Alice Walker "In Search of Our Mother's Gardens"

Essay by PondscumUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, June 2004

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Reaction Essay - Alice Walker "In Search of Our Mother's Gardens"

If we apply the principle of creative suffering to Walker's paraphrase, may the sadness caused by the loss of the young women actually heighten potential? In what sense does art exist because of slavery and patriarchy, not just in spite of them as Walker would have us believe? Clearly, the positive outcomes of suffering do not make the infliction of suffering acceptable. The quilt that hangs in the Smithsonian is not a justification for the oppression that led to its creation. "In fanciful, inspired, and yet simple and identifiable figures, it portrays the story of the Crucifixion. It is considered rare, beyond price. Though it follows no known pattern of quilt making, and though it is made of bits and pieces of worthless rags, it is obviously the work of a person of powerful imagination and deep spiritual feeling".

(Walker 2434)

The sadness caused by the loss of the young women may actually heighten potential. It is not only that hardship may present artistic expression but that hardship may also displace a woman's spirituality onto humble pursuits. Slavery and patriarchy, though fatal to some, did not eliminate women's artistic ability but it did re-channel it into quilting, hymn singing and gardening. There is no disputing that under better circumstances, women could have created art on a far grander scale, but their humble achievements are art nonetheless.

Black American women are now in position to relate to each other as women and as artists, with the image of, "Virginia Woolf, in her book A Room of One's Own, wrote that in order for a woman to write fiction she must have two things, certainly: a room of her own (with lock and key) and enough money to support...