The Women of Brewster Place Questions and Answers
by Gloria Naylor

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In The Women of Brewster Place, what examples show the successful bonding between Afro American women? What factors are focused upon in the present of Etta and Mattie?

In The Women of Brewster Place, examples of successful bonding between African American women include Mattie Michael’s relationships with Eva Turner and Ciel Turner. Mattie’s connections back home in Tennessee serve as a foundation for relationships formed on Brewster Place.

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The theme of bonds between women plays a central role in The Women of Brewster Place. Although the women who live on the street and in the neighborhood hail from different parts of the United States, they find important elements of community there. The stories involving Mattie Michael, in particular, provide a thread that weaves together other female characters. Mattie’s significant relationships when she lived in Tennessee include Etta Mae Johnson and Eva Turner. When she moves North, Mattie finds new reasons for connecting with Lucielia (“Ciel) Turner, who is Eva’s granddaughter.

When they lived in the same Tennessee town, Mattie’s plight as a poor young mother was alleviated by the generosity of Eva Turner. Ciel, then just a child, was living with Eva when her grandmother invited Mattie and her son, Basil, to live in their home. Over the decades, Eva’s continued...

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