Heavy: An American Memoir - Part Two, “Black Abundance” – "Gumption" Summary & Analysis

Kiese Laymon
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Summary

"Gumption."

The author goes with his mother to the home of one of her mentors, the writer Margaret Walker. Conversation reveals that the author’s mother’s name is Mary; that she has described him as a writer; and that he does not consider himself one. Ms. Walker tells him to have the “gumption” to own his name and own his words, saying that communication “is the mightiest gift passed down by our people” and that everything he writes, everything he says, should be to, for, and “in the service of our people. Do not be distracted. Be directed” (105). He does not understand what she means, but starts to figure it out when he reads a book of poetry that he gives her – “Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day” by Nikki Giovanni. The next day, the author and his mother...

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This section contains 1,117 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Heavy: An American Memoir Study Guide
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