The matriarchal spirituality in “Mama Day”

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Through-out Mama Day by Gloria Naylor the women of the story who live on the island of Willow Springs are regarded with very high respect for a mysterious power they possess. Sapphira and Mama Day are the two women in the story with most power and along with their ability to conjure comes a somewhat unspoken leadership and everyone on the island looks to them for help.

Although it is never really stated in the story the practices of the island tend to be mostly Christian, while the mysterious African voodoo that is practiced is trusted the most. Mama Day is the clearly the strongest character in the work and a direct desendant of Sapphira Wade. Sapphira is the legend of the island and also the founder. The spiritual leader of these two women have somewhat separated the island and its inhabitants from the rest of the world. Even though they are in constant contact with the mainland the female dominant culture there is completely original to this island.

When George comes to Willow Springs with Cocoa from New York the contrast can really be seen as the women and even Cocoa boss him around and are instantly trying to influence lifestyle on him even though he doesn't understand. The name Mama is also significant in the sense that it stands for a women that is ultimately in charge. One of the most distinct facts that label the island as a matriarch is the fact that Sapphira actually murdered her the male landowner who owned the island and also her husband.



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