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Night Women And An Act Of Vengeance English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1409 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Our stories in this lesson have a variety of international settings. What’s one story that seems to describe an experience that is very different than one you would expect to find in a story about the United States? Why?

Ans The story seems to be more of a rant speech or a partial monologue. The writer has tried to experiment by including too many instructions given by one person. Though it is a monotony but still it conveys some message. Despite the absence of any explicit information about the characters, the readers can make out there are two people talking to each other and one of them is a young girl.

Why do you think Kincaid has only given the 2ⁿͩ character in “Girl” two lines? What does this show?

Ans The second character appears to be submissive or the first character is more driven towards giving instructions rather than listening. It shows that the first character is more experienced and dominating and is hell bent to teach the girl some manners and save her from becoming a “slut”.

If “Woman from America” can be understood as “an allegory: a symbolic fable where the characters represent ideas,” (Lesson notes) what ideas do each character represent?

Ans The main character symbolizes harmony ,coexistence and authority as she is “a new kind of American or even maybe will be a new kind of African” as quoted by Bessie Head. The narrator on the other hand reflects the attitude of commoners who wants to stay safe in their own shell. They fear to leave the authorities, a general psyche. Apart from this the narrator is like any other human being who is curious to know the world and learn new things.

How does Achebes’s character Jonathan Iwegbu survive the civil war?

Ans He managed to save the lives of his wife and three children. He also buried his bicycle in the little clearing of a bush. And by God’s grace his house was still there.

Why is Achebe’s story called “civil peace”- what does that title imply?

Ans The story has its settings in the aftermath of a war. Jonathan had survived the war but had to struggle to maintain his own and his family’s existence even after the war that is in peace so the story is called “civil peace”.

You talked about liminality in lesson 5 written assignment. How is the narrator of “Night Women” a liminal character? Quote for evidence.

Ans The narrator is a liminal character as she does not like the night when her suitors use her, as implied from her statement “The night is the time I dread the most in my life.” and further she admits ” Yet if I am to live, I must depend on it.” at one place . At a different place she watches the piece-worker women and then she thanks the stars by saying “at least I have the days to myself.” She has a surge of too many thoughts and she is comfortable at her and her son’s wellbeing.

In “An Act of Vengeance,” we can understand Dulce Rosa’s choice to stay alive and get revenge (32 and 33) as an act of resistance. How then can we understand her choice to kill herself at the end of the story?

Ans Dulca Rosa stayed alive to take revenge for her father but when she meets Tadeo, the revenge seems to vanish. She was able to reconciliate to her love but her dead father’s memory could not let her stay in peace so she ended up killing herself.

Allende is quoted as saying “Fantastic things happen everyday in Latin America -it’s not that we make them up.” What is one fantastical thing that takes place in the story?

Ans Tadeo was obsessed with war and had never felt anything for any woman and Dulce was furious and wanted to take revenge from Tadeo but when they both meet, they fall in love. This is one fantastic thing that takes place in the story.

Which story did you enjoy the most from this lesson? Explain why?

Ans I liked “Civil Peace” as it preaches undying faith in life and God.

2. Written Assignment: Follow the instructions in Lesson 5 Written Assignment 2.5pages

The stories from lesson 6 are from different parts of the world. How does each author’s story retain its own national identity? What messages in the story seem more universal? That is, what about the world the author has created is specific to that setting, and what themes, characters, conflicts could take place anywhere? Write two paragraphs for each story.


This story finds its roots in experiences of Jamaica Kincaid’s life who hailed from Antigua. There is non stop speech of an individual who could have been an elderly woman or the girl’s mother. The rant didn’t allow the girl to express her opinion. The way of delivery of the teachings is not very common in all lands. Eating salt fish, people using flowers for decoration and prevalence of black bird depicts the regional settings. Usage of “white clothes” and “color clothes” unfolds the backdrop of a racial divide.

“Girl” professes common concerns of mothers which they have for their daughters like how to behave and managing the house. The instruction “you mustn’t speak to wharf-rat boys, not even to give directions;” is given to most of the teenaged and adolescent girls all over the world.

Woman from America

The story encompasses a rural woman who has come from America to live in the narrator’s village. As the narrator tells “to make matters worse or more disturbing she comes from the west side of America”, she shares her perception about the people who belong to a particular geographical location. The protagonist represents a mixed culture of America and Africa. The visualization of such a character can be very well done by writer like Besse Head who had an origin in two races.

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Women like the woman in “Woman from America” do exist in society . Because women are the ones who take care of the family and manage all the requirements of the house, they tend to attain such dominating virtues which help them surpass the hurdles, which may arise from the outside world. As the barriers of caste, creed, religion and community are vanishing , there is more of intermingling of people and the world is moving towards equilibrium.

Civil Peace

The backdrop of this story is the civil war in Nigeria. Chinua Achebe spontaneity in deriving the feirceness of the struggle caused due to the devastation by the war is evident, as he was a native of Nigeria. Jonathan Iwegbu, in the story, is a devout Christian and his relentless faith in God renders him strength to fight the odds.

War has always been a damaging phenomenon since ages. Whether it is the civil war in America or the war after the partition of India and Pakistan, the aftermath has always left the survivors to struggle for their existence and bear the toughest times.

Night Women

Danticat’s description of a prostitute happily settled in her lonely life with her son, highlights the strength and perseverance of a woman, which is sometimes very hard to imagine. The protagonist is happy that she has the days to enjoy even though she dreads the night life. The attitude of the woman to adjust with all the circumstances makes this story sound unique. The flower ‘hibiscus” has obtained significance at various instances , which seems specific to Haiti.

The lady in this enjoys the company of her son even though she leads a destitute life. The revelation of delight in her descriptions about her son is similar to that of any mother when they talk about their kids.

An Act of Vengeance

The writer’s quote “Fantastic things happen everyday in Latin America” holds very true in the story. The feelings like passion, obsession, love, revenge are present in same characters and they are found scintillated and filled with them.

The setting of the war ravaged land is similar to the story “Civil Peace” .The tale of the loot and the rape takes us back to the times when the rule of law was a distant dream. The elation on finding true love is congruous to any romantic expression.


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