Alice Walker Short Fiction Analysis
The heroism of black women in the face of turmoil of all kinds rings from both volumes of Alice Walker’s short stories like the refrain of a protest song. In Love and Trouble reveals the extremes of cruelty and violence to which poor black women are often subjected in their personal relationships, while the struggles in You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down reflect the social upheavals of the 1970’s.
In Love and Trouble
Such subjects and themes lend themselves to a kind of narrative that is filled with tension. The words “love” and “trouble,” for example, in the title of the first collection, identify a connection that is both unexpected and inevitable. Each of the thirteen stories in this collection is a vivid confirmation that every kind of love known to woman brings its own kind of suffering. Walker is adept at pairing such elements so as to create pronounced and revealing contrasts or intense conflicts. One such pair that appears in many of these short stories is a stylistic one and easy to see: the poetry and prose that alternate on the page. Another unusual combination at work throughout the short fiction may be called the lyrical and the sociological. Like the protest song, Walker’s stories make a plea for justice made more memorable by its poetic form. She breathes rhythmic, eloquent language into the most brutish and banal abuses.
These two elements—similarity of subject matter and the...
(The entire section is 4032 words.)
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