Alice Walker (b. 1944)

    Contributing Editor:
    Marilyn Richardson

    Major Themes, Historical Perspectives, and Personal Issues

    1. The bemused black women for whom a creative, witty, and compassionate union with the universe is as natural as breathing.

    2. The volcanic forces that go into the creative life and work of a heroine like the narrator. See her account of her encounter with Bessie Smith.

    3. The theft of black music by white musicians who do not understand what they are performing.

    Significant Form, Style, or Artistic Conventions

    The narrative voice in this story is deceptively informal and uneducated. Gracie Mae Still is in fact extremely subtle and sophisticated. The reader must put aside assumptions about her speech and learn from her on her own terms.


    "Alice Walker Reads 'nineteen fifty-five' " and an "Interview with Alice Walker" in which she discusses the story are tapes available from The American Audio Prose Library, P.O. Box 842, Columbia, MO 65205.