Girl, Woman, Other Summary & Study Guide

Bernardine Evaristo
This Study Guide consists of approximately 56 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Girl, Woman, Other.
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Girl, Woman, Other Summary & Study Guide Description

Girl, Woman, Other Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo.

The following version of the book was used to create this study guide: Evaristo, Bernardine. Girl, Woman, Other. Black Cat, 2019. Amazon Kindle eBook.

It is the opening night of Amma's play, The Last Amazon of Dahomey, which is premiering at the National in London. This represents a big step in Amma's career as she enters the mainstream theater community after decades of making indie art on the fringe with her good friend Dominique. While Amma's identity as a black lesbian had previously limited her options in mainstream theater, the establishment now seems to be embracing her. That night, Amma's daughter Yazz, whom she co-parents with her gay friend Roland, is in the audience with her university friends. Yazz is studying to be a journalist and has formed a core group of friends with two other brown girls and one white girl from her dorm. The four students all have different experiences of privilege as it intersects with their various identities, including their economic, racial, religious, and educational backgrounds. The next section is about Amma's friend and Yazz's godmother Dominique. Many years ago, Dominique met and fell in love with a woman named Nzinga. Dominique moved to America with Nzinga where they lived in a separatist feminist community. The relationship quickly becomes emotionally and physically abusive, and it is several years before Dominique decides to leave Nzinga and build a new life for herself in California where she founds a Women's Arts Festival.

Carole is on her way to work in the City where she is Vice President at a bank. Despite her Oxford education, polished appearance and manners, and high-powered job, Carole still has to deal with microaggressions, racism, and sexism in the workplace. At 13, Carole was raped by a group of older boys and, after a year of depression, she decided she wanted a future different from the working-class community she grew up in. She turns to a teacher, Mrs. King, for help, and becomes an academic star, eventually going to Oxford where she picks up posh habits. Her mother, Bummi, is upset that Carole seems to have lost connection with her Nigerian roots after going to Oxford. She wants Carole to marry a Nigerian man and is very upset when her daughter announces her engagement to an Englishman. A widow who migrated to England from Nigeria, Bummi starts her own cleaning business and has a lesbian relationship after her husband's death. However, she cannot come to terms with a new sexual identity and eventually marries a man named Kofi. LaTisha is Carole's friend from school, who hosts the party where Carole is raped, though LaTisha does not know about this. LaTisha dropped out of high school and had three children by three different fathers before the age of twenty-one. Her third child was fathered by Trey, the man who led the group who raped Carole, who also forced himself on LaTisha. LaTisha now works as a supervisor at the supermarket and is determined to get further promoted. She is also taking online courses. LaTisha's father, who had left the family suddenly when she was a child, appears in their lives again without warning and LaTisha realizes that her youngest child, who seems to echo Trey's temperament, needs his grandfather in his life.

Shirley begins the chapter as a young teacher determined to make a difference, but she soon becomes disillusioned with teaching and comes to hate her job vehemently. In spite of this, she mentors young Carole and continues to select a handful of students of mentor each year. Years later, Shirley is resentful that Carole never thanked her or kept in touch. Shirley's mother Winsome hosts their extended family in Barbados, where she and her husband have retired. She tells Shirley's daughter Rachel about her life as a young immigrant mother in England who encountered a lot of racism, both personal and systemic. Winsome then privately reminiscences about the affair that she carried on with Shirley's husband Lennox for over a year before he ended things. To this day, Shirley has no idea about the relationship between her husband and her mother. Penelope was a colleague of Shirley's at the school before her retirement. Penelope is a white second-wave feminist but harbors prejudice and implicit bias against people of color. Penelope was adopted and knows nothing about her heritage. After two failed marriages, she lives alone and is very upset when her daughter announces that she is moving to Australia with her husband and children.

Megan has always been a tomboy who hated the dresses and dolls her mother gave her. After leaving home, Megan begins to learn about different forms of gender expression, particularly through online communities and with the help of a transwoman named Bibi whom she meets online. Megan eventually identifies as gender-free and changes her name to Morgan and her pronouns to "they/them." She also begins a romantic relationship with Bibi. Six years later, Morgan is a popular social media influencer and speaker on trans rights and gender diversity. She is very close with her great-grandmother GG, or Hattie, who she visits regularly on the family farm, Greenfields. Hattie is in her early nineties and has a large extended family of descends, most of whom are mixed-race and have different relationships to their heritage, preferring to identify as white. Never having known her mother's father, she does an Ancestry DNA test with Morgan's help to learn more. Hattie's biggest secret is that she had a child when she was fourteen and was forced to give the baby away. She has never told anyone and does not know what happened to the child. Hattie's mother Grace never knew her father, who was an Abyssinian sailor. Her mother died when she was a child and Grace was raised in a girl's home before going to work as a maid. Grace then met and married Joseph Rydendale and became the mistress of his family farm, Greenfields, which their daughter Hattie eventually inherits.

At the after-party for Amma's play, which is already a huge success, Yazz's father Roland reflects on his success as a public figure and academic. Unlike Amma, Roland embraced the establishment long ago, though he resents being defined by his race. Also at the party are Carole, whose husband got them tickets, and Shirley, who is an old friend of Amma's. The teacher and her former student have an awkward and somewhat embarrassing reunion before Carole thanks Shirley for her help in the past, thanks that Shirley claims not to want or need. Amma and Dominique spend much of the evening together discussing the play and current social issues, in particular, how feminism has changed since they were young. Dominique resents the commercialization of the movement but Amma thinks they should celebrate the fact that Feminism is spreading.

In the epilogue, Penelope is traveling north to meet her birth mother, whom she found after doing an Ancestry DNA test. She was shocked to discover that she is part African. It is revealed that her mother is Hattie, and Penelope is the baby she was forced to give up in secret. Penelope is forced to rethink her identity and some of her prejudice against people of color begins to fall away when she meets Hattie. The two women meet at Greenfields where they are both full of emotion and happy to be together.

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