MARY HELEN WASHINGTON


Rage and Silence in Gwendolyn Brooks' Maud Martha

Then emotionally aware
Of the black and boisterous hair,
Taming all that anger down.
Gwendolyn Brooks

When Gwendolyn Brooks' autobiographical first novel, Maud Martha, was published in 1953 it was given the kind of ladylike treatment that assured its dismissal. Reviewers invariably chose to describe the novel in words that reflected what they considered the novel's appropriate feminine values. The young black woman heroine was called a "spunky Negro girl" as though the novel were a piece of juvenile fiction. Reviewers, in brief notices of the novel, insisted on its optimism and faith: Maud's life is made up of "moments she loved," she has "disturbances," but she "struggles against jealousy" for the sake of her marriage; there is, of course, "the delicate pressure of the color line," but Maud has the remarkable "ability to turn unhappiness and anger into a joke." Brooks' style was likened to the exquisite delicacy of a lyric poem. The New York Times reviewer said the novel reminded him of Imagist poems, of "clusters of ideograms from which one recreates connected experience."

____________________
From The Massachusetts Review 24, no. 2 (Summer 1983). © 1984 The Massachusetts Review, Inc. (Original title: "'Taming All That Anger Down': Rage and Silence in Gwendolyn Brooks' Maud Martha.")

-43-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Gwendolyn Brooks
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 216

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?