Naylor and Woolf

Posted: January 4th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Reviews | No Comments »

I absolutely love the multiple perspectives shown Mama Day by Gloria Naylor. . It is interesting to see how one character is thinking about a specific happening or idea and then to see how another is thinking about the same situation. For example, the dreams Cocoa has about George in the water (when Cocoa gets poisoned with a sort of conjuring concoction), compared to George’s dreams also involving water. The audience is able to see warnings in both character’s minds that the characters themselves cannot see. Everything that happens to Cocoa while she is under the “spell” was interesting to see from multiple perspectives. Naylor did an excellent job describing what it may be like to be conjured on. While at the same time, Naylor can show what it looks like from someone outside of Cocoa’s mind. The part where Abigail is stroking away the crawling, slivering, creatures inside Cocoa’s mind, and possibly body, is a wonderful example of where Naylor implemented the multiple perspectives writing style. I believe Abigail knew what she was doing.
George, being the outsider to this little island, is shown to be completely baffled by these “strange” people. As a reader I truly felt sorry for him and longed for him to understand the ways of the people in Willow Springs. If he could have just understood Miranda he may have been able to save his life.
I found the multiple perspectives in this novel compared to in Woolf’s, To the Lighthouse, to be much more easily understood. There were moments were I was confused but I was able to figure it out rather quickly by either reading back or ahead. Naylor seemed to be tracking the character’s minds in a patterned understood way. There are only so many perspectives to take on and once I got into the rhythm and feel of the novel it seemed so natural to switch between minds. This actually happens to be one of my favorite books I have read and am happy to have read it a second time over. I picked up on a lot more layered ideas within the text having been already infatuated with the story line.
What I liked and like most about the novel is how Naylor can show the love between all of these characters, “But before I’d let you mess with mine, I’d wrap you up in tissue paper and send you straight to hell” (173). Naylor even shows evidence of love back generations with mentions of Miranda and Abigail’s father. I became almost emotionally attached to the characters and wanted them to be happy. I loved the way I could watch the love between Cocoa and George develop and grow. “I could truthfully say, I’ve been with her all my life and I’ll be with her for the rest of my life” (158). I also enjoyed watching the story slowly unfold as more and more information was revealed through the multiple perspectives. I find this to be a fabulous piece of literature.

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