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Praisesong for the Widow by Paule Marshall - Book Report/Review Example

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Praisesong for the Widow by Paule Marshall

She was looking forward to the dessert at the end of the elegant meal in the fancy dining room. But when it came, she is suddenly troubled by a peculiar sensation. "Her heart was beating thickly, her stomach, her entire midsection felt odd." The stomach ache upsets Avey to the extent that she disembarks at Grenada with all her luggage to cancel the remainder of her cruise vacation and catch the first flight home to North White Plains, New York.
What was the cause of "the bloated feeling in her stomach and under her heart" that Avey begins to feel when she tries to eat the peach parfait She had a "mysterious clogged and swollen feeling" which at its worst feels as though "a huge tumor had suddenly ballooned up in her center" (p.52).
The peach parfait (frozen dessert) is a social symbol as is Bianca Pride, and her residence. Avey living in North White Plains and cruising on the Bianca Pride (White Pride) suggests that her middle-class values equal a certain degree of whiteness. The attention to food and the detailed description of the parfait create a parody of rich white folks stuffing them. The illness powerfully indicates, with bodily experience as a point of reference, the barrier between Avey and any association with her complex cultural origins. ...Show more

Summary

Praisesong for the Widow by Paule Marshall is a novel that focuses on the consciousness of a black woman as she remembers, retains, and develops her sense of individual self against the materialism that characterizes American societies. She sees herself in terms of her individuality and not as a part of the larger social network of immediate and extended family as well as the community she was raised to support and honor.
Author : tmohr
Praisesong for the Widow by Paule Marshall essay example
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