“Brownies” is a short story by ZZ Packer. It was first published in 2003 and follows the story of a group of Brownies who are at summer camp at Camp Crescendo.
When explaining the importance of the title, you may first of all wish to explain what the term “Brownies” usually refers to. The Brownies are a section of the Girl Scouts that is open to younger girls, usually between the ages of around seven to ten years. Brownies usually engage in various social gatherings and activities. A highlight of being a Brownie is the summer camp, when lots of young girls get to camp together, away from their parents. This is what the girls in the story are doing.
However, in order to fully appreciate the impact of the title of this short story, you need to also point out that the Brownies in the story are black. This makes the title of this short story a lot more poignant, as this means it just referring to a section of the Girl Scouts. Instead, it also carries a racial connotation, as it could also be seen as a derogatory term for black girls. Bearing in mind that the story deals with racial conflict, as of one of the black girls claims that she had been called “a nigger” by a white girl, the title could also be interpreted as a hidden hint towards the plot of the story.