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Indigo Austin THE 154 For Colored Girls

Prompt

What is the overall message of for colored girls

and how does Shange convey it? Be specific in

your analysis by using examples from the written script to support your premise – APA or MLA

format. (Also, be sure to address “a,” “b,” and “c” above.)

Essay

OVERALL MESSAGE: Connect the question you are answering to the play’s main theme

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For colored girls

. began in 1974 as a poem and later a set of poems that were read in

women's bars. Soon several poems were developed and placed into a performance piece that

included both dance and music. These encompassed all of Shange's studies and included poetry,

music,

and

dance.

This

style

of

performance

was

termed

the choreopoem, denoting a

performance where dance is performed to poetry. The play is a survival manual for the American

Black girl as she matures and a reference for people seeking a better understanding of the culture

and life experiences of Black women (Richard 2).

Thus, overall, the plays highlight the struggles that women of color endure. Shange wants the

audience to know that women of color walk a different path in life and often times it is unfair.

Women of color are more likely to be the targets of domestic abuse, teenage pregnancy,

oversexualiztion, molestation, rape- which can all lead to suicidal thoughts. The entire play

demands that the audience not overlook the pain of women, but rather face it and relate it to their

own lives (Richard 23)

Though the poems explore tough subjects, they also empower women. Many poems like

“graduation night”, brings control back to the woman. It is a way to remind women they are in

Indigo Austin THE 154 For Colored Girls

control. In the poem the girl is coming into her sexuality and losing her virginity- on her own

terms, by her own choice. Women of color seem to have less say so in many situations. This

particular scene goes against the status quo.

In conclusion the overall message of the play is to show how women of color endure many

more societal issues than their counterparts- simply because they are a woman of color. Innately,

life is harder for women of color, due to the overall oppression of people of color.

In the same breath, Shange wants the woman of color to know that she has control to take her

life into her own hands, and not relish in her hardships. One of the last phrases written in the play

is an affirmation for Black women and it gives them power,

"I found god in myself & I loved her/ I loved her fiercely."

The very last line of the play restates Sbange intentions,

"& this is for colored girls who have considered suicide, but are movin to the ends of their own rainbows"

(64).

The poem sends the message to love and heal yourself because nobody else can do it for you

(Richard 24).

AS IT RELATES TO SOCIETY: Connect the relationship between the play and society

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It is very simple to see the correlation between the issues discussed in this play with the

issues still existing in our society. For colored girls was written due to an overwhelming

disrespect towards women of color (black women). It discusses issues that are very prevalent in

black culture. Rape, abuse, and feeling powerless are issues that black women are all too familiar

with.

Indigo Austin THE 154 For Colored Girls

The play’s motifs are still very much so relevant in today’s society. So relevant that Tyler

Perry remade the play in a film. The film features some of the top black actresses. The women

are all suffering internally in some way or another. However, they overcome their hardships by

staying

strong

and

leaning

on

one

another

for

support.

Alluding

to

Maya

Angelou’s

“Phenomenal Woman”, we see many instances of outstanding perseverance- thus the black

woman is truly a phenomenal creation.

AS IT RELATES TO ME: Connect the relationship between the play and your own life.

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I got a text the other day from my bestfriend.

In the text she told me that

I

am

truly a

phenomenal woman. Not phenomenal because I am the most physically attractive, though I am

in fact, easy on the eyes. She and I would agree that I am a phenomenal woman due to the way I

carry myself and the way I manage my shortcomings and hardships.

Like the women of color in the play, I have also been through some very trying times this

past year. I lost my father to gun violence, back home in Chicago- all the while pregnant with my

first born (my son). To this day, not only am I grieving my father’s loss, but I am raising my son,

as best as I can- and also finishing my last semester as an undergrad.

Growing up on Chicago’s south side, I never looked at myself as being poor, but the more I

think about it, the more I understand that we were in fact suffering financially. This is the root of

the problem, and why I feel that my life is much harder to deal with than others. Being black is a

main reason my family has not been afforded the same opportunities for advancement as our

counterparts.

Indigo Austin THE 154 For Colored Girls

Works Cited

Richard, Jocelyn M., "A Thematic Exploration of "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow is Enuf," by

Ntozake Shange" (2001). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 682.

Shange, Ntozake. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf: A Choreopoem. New York: Collier

Books, 1989. Print.