Mama Day by Gloria Naylor

  • Length: 660 words (1.9 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

Mama Day by Gloria Naylor

Mama Day by Gloria Naylor is a fantastic novel filled with vivid imagery and intriguing characters. Naylor weaves a realistic tale, despite the fantastic events that she describes. Her characters are believable and behave like "real people". However, Naylor's greatest asset is her descriptive powers, which not only sets the scene, but enraptures readers into Cocoa's dual worlds of New York City and Willow Springs, imprisoning us with her words.

The plot centers around the three main characters: Ophelia/Cocoa/Baby Girl, George and Mama Day. Mama Day is by far the most dominant personality, although we are not inside her mind the same way we are with Cocoa and George. Mama Day represents the power and resilience of nature and the town of Willow Springs itself. She seems to literally be upholding the town, and to be so indispensable, I wonder what the town will do when she is gone, left with only Dr. Buzzard as the resident "medicine man." But Mama Day seems to have no intention of leaving anytime soon.

Naylor enhances the connection of Mama Day with nature by associating her with natural imagery. We always see Mama Day in her gardens, or the forest, nursing the land with her skill. She has a connection to nature, and can understand it, as seen by her prediction of the storm. Mama Day represents the last vestiges of the power of the African wise woman, a role that is dying out as society becomes more and more urban.

Cocoa straddles the worlds of nature and the city. Her roots are in Willow Springs and she cannot forget that. However, we can never see her taking up the role of wise woman after Mama Day is gone. She has been too changed by the city and its disappointments and heartaches. This division causes much of the conflict between her and George, since she often lashes out when her soul is divided.

George Andrews represents, of course, the world of the city. He cannot accept Mama Day's primal power, and loses his life for his lack of belief. His angry retaliation at the helpless chickens represents the urban idea of attempting to control nature. George tries to control something he can't understand, and thus pays the consequences.

Each character is associated with their own imagery and language. When each of them speaks, it is with their own unique dialect.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Mama Day by Gloria Naylor." 123HelpMe.com. 18 Jun 2018
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=37248>.
Title Length Color Rating  
Gloria Naylor's Mama Day Essay - Gloria Naylor's Mama Day It is impossible to interpret Gloria Naylor’s 1988 novel, Mama Day, in one way. There are multiple standpoints that a reader can take in explaining various events that occur throughout the book, as well as different ways that the characters in the book interpret these events. The author never fully clarifies many questions that the story generates so as to leave the readers with the opportunity to answer them based on their own personal experiences and beliefs. The multiplicity of perspectives in Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day is embodied in the legend of Sapphira Wade and the dynamics between logic and the supernatural and between George and Cocoa....   [tags: Gloria Naylor Mama Day Essays] 1235 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Gloria Naylor's Mama Day Essay - Gloria Naylor's Mama Day George and Ophelia grow up in significantly different environments with exposure to vastly dissimilar experiences; their diverse backgrounds have a profound impact on the way they interpret and react to situations as adults. George and Ophelia both grow up without their parents, but for different reasons. George grows up at the Wallace P. Andrews Shelter for Boys in New York. The Shelter’s strict surroundings did not provide the warm and inviting atmosphere that a mother strives for in a home....   [tags: Gloria Naylor Mama Day Essays] 1245 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Mama Day by Gloria Naylor Essay - Mama Day by Gloria Naylor Mama Day by Gloria Naylor is a fantastic novel filled with vivid imagery and intriguing characters. Naylor weaves a realistic tale, despite the fantastic events that she describes. Her characters are believable and behave like "real people". However, Naylor's greatest asset is her descriptive powers, which not only sets the scene, but enraptures readers into Cocoa's dual worlds of New York City and Willow Springs, imprisoning us with her words. The plot centers around the three main characters: Ophelia/Cocoa/Baby Girl, George and Mama Day....   [tags: Mama Day Gloria Naylor Literature Essays] 660 words
(1.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Mama Day by Gloria Naylor Essay - Mama Day by Gloria Naylor The comparisons--North vs. South, city vs. country, technology vs. nature--are numerous and have been well documented in 20th century literature. Progress contrasts sharply with rooted cultural beliefs and practices. Personalities and mentalities about life, power and change differ considerably between worlds... worlds that supposed-intellectuals from the West would classify as "modern" and "backwards," respectively. When these two worlds collide, the differences--and the danger--rise significantly....   [tags: Mama Day Gloria Naylor Literature Essays] 839 words
(2.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Gloria Naylor's Mama Day Essay - Gloria Naylor's Mama Day Gloria Naylor's Mama Day takes place in two distinct environments, each characterized by the beliefs and ideologies of the people who inhabit the seemingly different worlds. The island of Willow Springs, comprised solely by the descendants of slaves, is set apart from the rest of the United States and is neither part of South Carolina nor Georgia. As such, its inhabitants are exempt from the laws of either state and are free to govern themselves as they see fit. Only a worn-out bridge built in 1920 connects the inhabitants to the mainland, but the people of Willow Springs are entirely self-sufficient....   [tags: Gloria Naylor Mama Day Literature Essays] 951 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
George’s Life Sacrifice in Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day Essay - George’s Life Sacrifice in Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day George and Ophelia, two characters in Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day, have a complex yet intimate relationship. They meet in New York where they both live. Throughout their hardships, Ophelia and George stay together and eventually get married. Ophelia often picks fights with George to test his love for her, and time after time, he proves to her that he does love her. Gloria Naylor uses George as a Christ figure in his relationship with Ophelia to eventually save her life....   [tags: Gloria Naylor Mama Day]
:: 1 Works Cited
746 words
(2.1 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Ethnics and Heritage Destroyed George in Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day Essay - Ethnics and Heritage Destroyed George in Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day It has been said before that opposites attract when it comes to love. In Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day, two people who would seemingly never end up together somehow find a way to form a relationship that eventually leads to a marriage. George and Cocoa, the two lovers featured in this book, come from backgrounds that could not be more unlike the other. How they end up falling in love is close to a miracle, but because of their huge difference in background, they bring to each other what they wish they could have in themselves....   [tags: Gloria Naylor Mama Day Essays] 1005 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
City Boy versus Country Girl Essay - City Boy versus Country Girl Gloria Naylor’s novel, Mama Day, shows how two loving people can unite in marriage, while being from two separate worlds. The way that Naylor creates the anxiety between these two characters is by the differences in their backgrounds--including their families, traditions and their geographical origins. Cocoa and George are extremely different; however, this is what makes their marriage so strong. Raised by the two most respected women in the town, Cocoa grew up on a small southern island with a loving family, while George grew up in a boys’ home without a family in urban New York....   [tags: Mama Day Gloria Naylor Essays] 920 words
(2.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Daughters of the Dust and Mama Day Essay - Daughters of the Dust and Mama Day Although their plots are divergent, Julie Dash’s “Daughters of the Dust” and Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day possess strikingly similar elements: their setting in the islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia, their cantankerous-but-lovable matriarchs who are both traditional healers, and stories of migration, whether it be to the mainland or back home again. The themes of the film and the book are different but at the same time not dissimilar: Dash’s film emphasizes the importance of retaining connections to the ancestral past, while Naylor’s novel focuses more on love, loss, and reconciliation with the past that is part of the present and will contin...   [tags: Julie Dash Gloria Naylor Literature Essays] 924 words
(2.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about Mama Day - The entire structure of Mama Day is fitting to the telling of multiple love stories entertwined. Like the most heartfelt episode of Seinfeld ever Gloria Naylor doesn&#8217;t tell a love story, but rather lays out in detail the events of everyday life for all of the central characters. In the process the love stories of the characters are all told at once. The most obvious example is the relationship between George and Cocoa (arguably the main love story). Through the book we see them meet, fall in love, and go through excitement and hardship; all that love is....   [tags: essays research papers] 1031 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]

Related Searches




Mama Day is always written with the southern, Willow Springs language. George's mind is structured, his language the precise speech of an educated city man. As part of her role as walking the middle road, Cocoa thinks with city language, but often the Willow Springs dialect will resurface, especially when she is visiting her home.

Naylor's descriptive language exerts itself in other ways besides character development. The blustery shore of the Sound comes vividly to life, as does the majesty and mystery of the forest. But one scene in particular struck me as the best example of Naylor's powers. Cocoa has begun to hallucinate from the poison Ruby has given her, and suffers through some terrible ordeals. The shocking descriptions: the worms in the shower, the welts in her skin that began to move within her body, the rot that takes a hold of her insides, all affected me greatly. I was physically repulsed, and impressed at the same time, at how the author could so pen Cocoa's suffering so that I myself longed for an end. "Come on, George," I thought, "You've got to save her, this is too horrible to bear."

Such powerful imagery is Naylor's greatest strength. Her words invoke emotions and deep concern for her characters. I became entranced with the world she created, often looking up from a long session of reading surprised to find myself in my dorm room. Willow Springs and its people became alive for me, and that is truly the mark of a great author and a fantastic novel.


Return to 123HelpMe.com