Brown Girl Dreaming

by Jacqueline Woodson

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In Brown Girl Dreaming, what are the poet's feelings about the Greenville rain?

Quick answer:

In "night bus," the poet remembers her father's visit to Greenville, South Carolina after a long absence. He arrives on the night bus, and the family greets him in their home. The poet evokes the smells of her youth and happiness as she remembers her mother hugging her father in the rain while they go inside. In "brooklyn rain," Jacqueline Woodson contrasts it to the Southern rain in Greenville, South Carolina. She mentions that when it rains in New York City, it seems gray and no one goes outside. She speaks of how her mother wants them to stay inside because of the cold weather or because she wants them to do something else instead of playing outside.

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Jacqueline Woodson contrasts the rain in Greenville, South Carolina, to the rain in Brooklyn, New York. Mentioning the Southern rain in two poems, the poet connects them with evocative sensory images and memories of her family.

In "night bus," she speaks of her father's visit from Ohio to South Carolina. He arrives on the night bus in a heavy rain, saying he is sorry. She projects forward to when it stops, which will bring the "sweet smell of honeysuckle." Her memory includes her parents reuniting and "hugging in the warm Carolina rain" in a "perfect Now."

In "brooklyn rain," she tells the reader that the rain in New York is "different" than that in Greenville. Drawing on several senses and alliteration with the initial consonant sound "s," she forms a rich image of her Southern memory. There, the rain smelt of honeysuckle, and she remembers the feel of pine needles squishing underfoot as well as the way she would "slip and slide through grass."

In New York, the rain makes things seem gray, and her mother wants them to stay inside. "Down South," however, she had been able to go outside and go places and stick out her tongue and taste the rain. She evokes memories of her grandmother and her "Daddy's garden." Thinking of Southern rain makes her think of happiness and sunshine.

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