Writing on Women Writers

A site for college students to write about women writers.

The Generational Gap

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Toni Cade Bambara was born in New York City, New York.  She is well known for her many works dealing with  the Black Power Movement and her role as an activist.  In her work, My Man Bovanne, Bambara explores the generational gap between the the main character, Miss Hazel, and her children.

“”Generational gap,” spits Elo, like I suggested castor oil and fricasse possum in the milk-shakes or somethin. “That’s a white concept for a white phenomenon.  There’s no generational gap among Black people. We are col-” (p. 556)

Miss Hazel’s children are taking part in organizing a political party involved with the black power movement.  They want their mother to head a council of the older folks. In getting their mother to form the council, Miss Hazel’s children seem to be forcing their mother to conform to their beliefs.  They criticize Miss Hazel for not giving black women the proper appearance.  What her children seem to be forgetting is that the point of the movement is to gain equal rights and to gain a mutual respect among people in general.  They lose respect for their mother’s individuality somewhere along the line.

Toni Cade Bambara advocated for this mutual respect and it transcended in her works and her teaching including this presentation about “The Wall of Respect.”

One thing that was important to Bambara that come across in her works was the importance of the older generation in the Black Power Movement.  In “My Man Bovanne,” Bambara writes, “Cause you gots to take care of the older folks.” “…Cause old folks is the nation.” (p. 558)

This view is symbolized by Bovanne, and older blind man from the neighborhood who “fixed things.”  He had been popular with the kids  when they were little, but now was forgotten by them.  This comments on the fact that many times the older generation is forgotten in the hustle and bustle of present issues, as Miss Hazel’s children do.  Also the fact that Bovanne is blind symbolizes the children’s blindness to the real issues, or their blindness to their mother’s own individuality.


People in general are blind to many things around them, black or white, old or young and this is what births injustices.

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