Paule Marshall Essay

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Biography • She grew up reading the sweeping English novels of Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, and Henry Fielding. However, it was not until her discovery of the great African American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar that she became aware of another type of literature, one that spoke to her like no other that she had read before and that expressed to her the possibility that she, too, might someday become a great writer. • Paule Marshall (née Burke) is the daughter of second-generation Barbadian immigrant parents Samuel and Ada Burke. Although Marshall was born in Brooklyn, the influence of her West Indian ancestry has been profound in her writing. Even as a little girl, before her “formal” introduction to the world of African American literature, the sounds, the smells, the sights, the entire culture of the West Indies were a part of her future training as a world-renowned novelist, especially through the daily gatherings of her mother and her female West Indian friends around the kitchen table to discuss, in the language of a kind of folk poetry, personal, neighborhood, and world events. Paule Marshall has lovingly deemed her mother and her neighbor-friends kitchen poets. According to her, they are the foundation for all the beauty and skill with which she employs the often colorful and irreverent language of the “Bajan” (Barbadian) community in her novels. • Marshall ended up leaving Our World and married her first husband, Kenneth Marshall, in 1957. In 1958, she gave birth to her first and only child, Evan-Keith. Still, Marshall was not satisfied with the role deemed appropriate for her and most other women of the 1950s, that is, wife and mother exclusively; she needed more • List of Writings • She worked at various jobs to make ends meet. Even with her high degree of accomplishment, the prospects for a woman, especially an African

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