November 15th, 2010
After the last period in Paule Marshall’s novel Praisesong for the Widow, we can see and comprehend the series of points that Marshall establishes through theexpansion and development of the novel. After reading the novel, I conclude that we, as human beings, cannot run away from our cultural heritage nor we can hide where we come from. Eventually, our heritageis going to catch up with us and we can either be proud of it or we can be ashamed of it.
In the case of Avey Johnson, she wanted to hide who she really was. She wanted the world to think that,even though she was a black woman, she was very white on the inside. She wanted to establish this point through material possessions. She thought that if she could own all pretty materials in the world,people might not think of her as a traditional Negro, but they would think that she was above the African American standard stereotype. After a lot of hasty decisions and unusual circumstances, AveyJohnson finds herself finally accepting who she really was and celebrating her African roots with other fellow Negroes. During this celebration she felt like in her old days back in Tatem as Marshalldescribes that “it was a score of hot August nights again in her memory” and later states that “Standing there she used to long to give her great aunt the slip and the join those across the road. Shehad finally after all these decades made it across” (248).
In summary, the text is about an old woman who had lost her traditions and her culture and how she recovered that and became who she wassupposed to be. Paule Marshall writes this novel to make us value more our culture and our heritage. If we look closely to Avey Johnson’s experience, we can see that she was not really happy being whatshe pretended to be. She had a lot of material possessions, but she did not have her heritage, which meant that she did not have anything at all. We can have a lot of money and pretty stuff, but...