Praisesong for the Widow

by Paule Marshall
Start Free Trial

Analysis

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 203

Praisesong for the Widow is a story that explores the reconciliation of the past and present, as well as the understanding of one's identity. The concept of identity is defined in two ways: individual identity and cultural identity. In the story, the protagonist embarks on an actual and metaphorical journey towards connecting the two identities. After all, one's individual identity—the identity that you create through your own personal experiences and ideologies—is interconnected with one's cultural roots. The setting of the story is also vital.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

The protagonist is in a land that is outside of the United States, but the population is ethnically similar to her. She is an American, but the locals, especially Lebert, considers her as one of their own. This illustrates the duality that many, if not all, African Americans try to balance. This duality also causes identity issues among the African diaspora.

At first, the protagonist is an outsider, but later on she finds cultural connections with the people of Carriacou, such as the dance steps that were similar to her great-aunt's people in South Carolina. Through this journey she is reborn, and she goes from someone who is fractured by the duality to someone who is whole.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Previous

Analysis

Next

Form and Content