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When critically analyzing the work of Morrison in Recitatiff, it is quite significant to realize the different elements that the author has employed in his work. In this short story, Morrison shows the lives of two young girls: one black and one white. The social issue of racial discrimination is addressed in the lives of these young girls. An important aspect of the work which enables the user to engage in the story is the title. Recitatiff is a singing style which is used in opera in order to progress the plot of the story. Another important aspect that has been depicted in this story is the racial inequality. For this purpose, it seems like there has been an intentional confusion created by the author to understand which one of the two girls is white and which one is black. Also, by using Hendrix’s example (the famous Afro-American guitarist), Morrison shows that race is not the factor which can determine the success of a person.
“Anne Sexton: A Self Portrait in letters” edited by Linda G.Sexton provides quite an interesting portrait of the famous poet Anne Sexton. As a matter of fact, one does not understand the complete story when reading a portrait through his/her letters, because the replies from the people are not available. Anne’s letters were all confessions, and her poetry had the same sense. Anne was undaunted till 1960s as she explored quite personal issues with fellow poets and other people who wrote to her. She openly shared her mental illness with everyone she wrote to. She also mentioned her depressions on her hospital visits. She even mentioned about being involved in various suicide attempts. (Middlebrook, 1992)
Adrienne Rich has made quite many references to popular historical figures in her poetry and other works.”I am in Danger -- Sir” is written about the poet Emily Dickinson. Rich creates a metaphoric description of Dickinson like “you, woman, masculine” and “a forehead battered paper thin”. Her writing style is very different as she uses interesting metaphors in her work. Rich’s poem “Power” is about another important figure, Marie Curie, but in this poem, Rich does not address Marie directly; instead, she writes about her powers.
Sylvia had a very negative relationship with the closest men of her life specially her husband and her father. Her father had passed away when she was eight. She had always looked forward to a healthy father-daughter relationship with her dad, which is even depicted in her work. Her father was interested only in her grades at school, and her husband cheated on her; due to this, her poetry makes her an undemocratic woman.
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Li-Young Lee: “Eating Together”
It is quite an interesting piece of work as compared to Lee’s “Eating Alone”. They are clearly different pieces of poetry, but they definitely serve as companion pieces. “Eating Together” has a touch of strong family bounding and compassion. It proves the need of sharing your meals with others as the entire family comes together for a meal after losing their patriarch.
Eudora Welty: “Petrified Man”
In the story “Petrified Man”, Welty displays a marvellous talent of keeping the story flowing and advancing. The topic of conversation at a beauty parlour among women is the travelling carnival which is passing through the vicinity. The beauty parlour has been depicted as a kind of nerve centre for the women where they discuss anything they want. One of the people in the carnival being discussed by the women is made of stone hence called the “Petrified Man”.
Bernard Malamud: “The Natural”
Malamud makes a wise use of foreshadowing in the first chapter of his book “The Natural”. On the other hand, the chapter is concluded by using newspaper articles about athletes and Harriet’s hatbox. The hatbox is important since Eddie, the porter, would not be let to touch it, whereas the news articles right before the introduction of the Whammer, who goes after Harriet immediately. It all ends up saving Whammer’s life; though he loses the battle, but if given another chance, he would have done the same.
Published in 1955, Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is an incredible work. It is a story of a southern family’s vacation to Florida which turns tragic due to mass murders. Because of the different contradictory responses about the murders, the depth and energy of O’Connor can be depicted in the work. Every element of the story has been crafted quite creatively by the author. The events accompanied by some religious overtones become a kind of test for the reader’s own interpretation (O'Connor, 1993).
N. Scott Momaday: “The Way to Rainy Mountain”
“The Way to Rainy Mountain” has beautifully combined personal, familial and tribal stories about Kiowa Indian history. Momaday shares his own memories of the rich Kiowa culture and traditional tribal narratives to create a profound impression on the reader’s mind that the life at Kiowa is well-grounded yet mystical. In the book, Momaday does not only sheds light on the Kiowa culture but also helps the readers to understand how these tribal stories create and reflect the Kiowa culture. The book is split into his own perspective and that of the forbearers and anthropologists. The differences between these perspectives provide the readers a way of understanding Kiowa culture as a living entity that changes depending on one’s viewpoint (Momaday, 1976).
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Flannery O’Connor: “Good Country People”
Flannery O’Connor’s “Good Country People” is a disappointment in some way. The character that led to this pity and disappointment is that of Joy/Hulga. The basic idea of the story implies that one should not judge people’s characters before he/she really knows them. This happens when Mrs. Freeman, Manley Porter, and Mrs. Hopewell all treat Joy/Hulga in a manner which induces feelings of pity and sorrow. The readers do not get to know that Joy/Hulga is a negative character and not likeable by people, but it is the end that made the readers realize that she is like her mother and truly believes in “good country people”. The beautifully laid theme is definitely an eye-opener for the readers.
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