Analysis of the play FLORENCE by Alice Childress

Essay by QminatiCollege, UndergraduateA, January 2003

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This 1950 play by Alice Childress takes place in a train station waiting room in a very small town in the south. The play describes how Miss Whitney, an old black woman, discovers that her premonition of the success of her daughter, Florence, as a black actress is undesirably similar to that of a racist, white society. This troubling discovery has just as strong an impact on the reader as it does on Miss Whitney. This drama teaches the reader how the views and opinions of individuals or groups can influence other individuals or groups, although their views and opinions may be opposite, to approach situations with the same reaction.

Marge, Miss Whitney's other daughter, first introduces this frame of mind to as she accompanies Miss Whitney at the train station. They sit in the "colored" section of the train station while Miss Whitney awaits a train to Harlem to convince Florence to come back home to the south.

Florence fled to Harlem with ambition of being an actress. After she calls home to ask for money, Marge is convinced that Florence will fail because she is a black woman attempting to make it in a business dominated by whites in a racially segregated society. Although Miss Whitney seems to have a little bit more faith in Florence, she still wants convince Florence to come back home. They even have a check ready to pay for her trip home, which is causing them to be late on their rent. This reveals to us that they are willing to sacrifice a little in order to prevent Florence from possibly failing in her quest for success. As Marge speaks to Her mother she reveals her mentality in regards to Florence's situation, "She ain't gonna get rich up there and...