for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf Critical Evaluation - Essay

Ntozake Shange

Critical Evaluation

(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Ntozake Shange calls for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf a choreopoem; it is a performance piece made up of twenty-three poems that are chanted, sung, and danced to musical accompaniment by seven women. Originally performed in improvisational style in Berkeley, California, in 1974, the play was picked up in an expanded form by the New York Shakespeare Festival, which first presented it in an Obie Award-winning production in 1976 at the Henry Street Play House and then moved it to the Booth Theatre on Broadway, where it had a long, successful run.

Shange is considered a pioneer both for the collage-like techniques of her drama and for her subject matter: the anger of African American women at their double subjugation at the hands of white America and black men. While some critics were disturbed at what they saw as her generally negative depiction of black males and her disconnection from traditional black political concerns, others saw in for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf an attempt to find new solutions to the reality of the lives of African American women. Shange’s work may be considered, along with that of Margaret Walker, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker, a harbinger of the African American cultural renaissance that began in the early 1980’s.

This emergence of African American culture into the mainstream of American life signifies the culture’s...

(The entire section is 567 words.)