Jubilee Essay - Masterplots II: Women’s Literature Series Jubilee Analysis

Margaret Walker

Masterpieces of Women's Literature Jubilee Analysis

In the essay “How I Wrote Jubilee,” Walker explains that she “always intended Jubilee to be a folk novel based on folk material: folk sayings, folk belief, folkways.” She also “wanted the book to be realistic and humanistic.” Walker succeeded in creating a novel whose main character, brought up in a culture rich in folklore, exemplified a humanistic approach to life. Vyry is a product of the African American community and continues this close connection throughout her life. She is nurtured by black women, and she speaks in black dialect. Walker shows the strengths and skills of the black women who lived during this time. Older women instruct younger ones on food preparation, needle crafts, and the medicinal value of herbs and roots. Walker’s detailed descriptions of the hard work involved in food preparation provide a realistic look at the everyday lives of the women who spend their lives cooking and caring for others. In addition to cooking for the family in the “big house,” these women must also cook for their own families. For example, Vyry cooks ham for the owners in the “big house,” but fixes possum and collard greens for her own family’s Christmas.

Walker portrays the everyday realities of plantation life from the point of view of the slaves. In contrast to Margaret Mitchell’s romanticized view in Gone with the Wind (1936), Walker deals with the speech, behavior, hardships, fears, and hopes of the...

(The entire section is 557 words.)