The Temple of My Familiar Summary
Alice Walker

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The Temple of My Familiar Summary

A central theme in the novel is the challenge marginalized people face everywhere in creating an identity.

Fanny, for example, faces two unacceptable roles — either as a victim of racism and sexism or as a possible perpetrator of retaliatory violence. She, like many characters in the novel, seeks a new role. The source of new ideas does not seem to be from traditional books. Witness Suwelo, the college history teacher, and Carlotta and Fanny, college literature teachers who are spiritually lost. The sources seem to come from other places, principally women's lives — specifically from women with past lives in the case of Lissie and Zede, or from dreams which hold archetypal memories as Franny's dreams do. These sources are better guides to achieving a viable identity.

Walker puts the importance of these sources of knowledge this way: "a people's dreams, imaginings, rituals, legends . . . are known to contain...

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The Temple of My Familiar Short Guide