Mildred Peacock, a black mother of five. Mildred struggles to rear her children during the turbulent 1960’s and 1970’s. She has a great capacity for living, and many of her actions reveal her unflinching desire to help her children live as fully as possible. In addition, Mildred wants to love and be loved. After becoming pregnant when she is seventeen, she marries her child’s father, Crook Peacock, who brings little love to her life; she has four more children by him, and he abuses her physically and emotionally. Mildred takes his abuse for ten years before she divorces him. As a single mother and a high school dropout, Mildred does whatever she can to pay her rent and utilities and put food on the table for her children. She works on an assembly line before she is laid off, and she even works briefly as a prostitute to keep her children from starving. Mildred even swallows her pride and applies for and receives government aid. For Mildred, rearing children is not everything. She tries to find love in the arms of a number of men, eventually marrying two more times. Life in Point Haven, Michigan, is difficult as Mildred struggles to make ends meet. After her oldest daughter moves to Los Angeles, Mildred moves there too; her children’s lives continue to be important to her, and she continues to have financial problems. Mildred often drinks too much, and after the thrill of Los Angeles fades and her children are grown, she returns to Point Haven. When she realizes she is getting old and that the sort of love she wanted is not going to enter her life, she gives up drinking, comes to love her old...
(The entire section is 668 words.)