Friday, February 10, 2012

His First Wife Part One by Grace Octavia

That last half of Part I really paints a picture of the inner-Black class distinction. There is the distinction between the two mothers (one being high born, the other being lower). Oddly enough, both mothers feel the same way about the other’s child: they are trying to get up in the world by marrying well. Both sides are understandable. First, you have Jamison’s mother who has been working hard all of her life in order to give her son the best opportunities, with which he has done well (better than Kerry who has had everything arranged for her). Now, she sees this girl coming into his life, causing distractions, and turning his focus away from medical school and towards her. Anyone could understand his mother’s frustration at this. Yet, Kerry’s mother also has legitimate concerns. Being born to wealth and privilege has its danger zones. Kerry’s mother is afraid that Jamison is trying to take advantage of her wealthy daughter so that he can have her money and prestige. Although this is a good concern, the concern of Kerry’s mother is tainted by the fact that she has control over Kerry. If Kerry marries, the mother loses most, if not all, of her control over her daughter. Much like Kerry is now asking who is she is not a dutiful wife, Kerry’s mother is faced with the dilemma of who is she if not a controlling mother?

There is also the subtle distinction made when we hear Kerry talk about skin color during the party. It almost seems that the closer your skin color is to being white, the more desirable you become and the higher status you have.

1 comment:

  1. The skin color issue is why it's so important that Kerry is dark-skinned. She is beautiful--"Black Barbie," as her college peers call her--yet people seem to call her beautiful in spite of her skin tone. Do you think Kerry is confident about her own beauty, or does she have insecurities about skin tone?