A Woman Alone: Autobiographical Writings Characters

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Bessie Amelia Head is born in 1937 to an upper class white woman and the African race horse manager that works for her family. Bessie Amelia Emery, Head's mother, is mentally unstable and so Head is born at the mental hospital in Pietermarizburg, Natal. Her mother gives her up for adoption; Head ends up thinking of Nellie Heathcote, her black adopted mother, as her mother. However, she is eventually separated from her adopted family and placed in an Anglican boarding school for black girls. While she hates the rigidity and religion of the school, she loves the library and develops a lifelong love of books and writing.

After graduating, Head teaches briefly. Due to mental instability and religious turmoil she quits to avoid a mental breakdown. She then becomes a journalist in Cape Town and later Johannesburg. By 1964, however, she decides to leave South Africa due...

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This section contains 743 words
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