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Unformatted text preview: The reason why Celie writes to God is that she would like to tell her mother what happened, but Celie's father has warned her not to to tell "nobody but God," especially not Celie's mother because, according to him, "It'd kill your mammy." Again, we are caught off-guard. We know that this novel is written by a contemporary black woman, and therefore, the word "mammy" is jarring. Usually we encounter "mammy" only in so-called softcore racist songs and literature. For example, we think of the song "Mammy's Li'l Baby Loves Shortnin' Bread," and we also think of all of the turbaned, sassy, protective "mammies" who (according to the movies) ruled Southern plantation kitchens, as well as most of the rest of the plantation house affairs, and, of course, we recall Al Jolson's "black face," sung-on-bended-knee version of "Mammy," and scores of other instances where the word "mammy" is used in a...
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- Fall '11