Masterplots II: African American Literature Gemini Analysis

In the 1970’s, Giovanni was hailed as an important black poet and thereafter maintained a large following. Part of Gemini’s importance lies in the fact that it shows the influences, both familial and cultural, that shaped Giovanni into a poet. She presents her decision to be a poet somewhat more modestly: “I can’t do anything else that well. If I could have held down a job in Walgreen’s I probably would have.” It is clear that her grandmother, her sister, and her parents were instrumental in shaping her consciousness. Her decision to be a poet rests in her desire to be a voice for African Americans and to tell their stories; she believes that poets pass on the truth of a people.

In Gemini, she explores what threatens the black community: fragmentation as various groups focus on fulfilling their own group’s needs rather than on working together; appropriation by whites of black achievements, especially in the field of music; and the determination of whites to maintain their hold on power and to keep African Americans in a state of submission. As Giovanni notes, “Angela [Davis] is wanted and may be destroyed because she is Black. Her capture and destruction serve . . . to show Black people . . . what will happen if they step out of line.” Giovanni’s antiwhite stance is understandable in the context of the political events of the 1960’s. Although she reacts strongly to racism, her venom is directed more toward...

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