African American Women Writers’ Historical Fiction by Ana Nunes (auth.)
By Ana Nunes (auth.)
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83 Against this, the body of the bondswoman— used in agricultural and domestic work, as a means of reproducing the slave labor force, and as means of social control to shield the white woman from the physical compulsions of the white man—is, as Walker exposes in Jubilee, a scarred body. “The bearing of children was” as Franklin and Moss declare, “[a] hard time for the slave women. ”84 The resistance offered to the white man’s advances was often severely punished with beatings, marking body and mind.
The use of folk speech and folk beliefs characterizes her poetry and constitutes the creative scaffold of her novel Jubilee. The poems of For My People, particularly those of the middle section, as Joyce Pettis observes, “reflect the oral and the folk traditions of Southern black culture. Writing in the tradition of James Weldon Johnson, Sterling Brown, and Zora Neale Hurston . . ”17 Walker later saw herself as a writer of the 1930s school of social protest deeply influenced by Wright, “by what he wrote and what he said,”18 to use her own words.
Someday, . . I will understand, and I will be able to do something about it. I will write books that will prove the history texts were distorted. ”8 It is interesting SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT 27 to note here how Walker represents her experience in terms of past and future tenses. The history learned on the school benches of the segregated South contributed to this first impulse to set the record of American history straight. In the North, Walker realized that poverty and injustice were not confined to the Southern states or to one side of the racial dividing line.