In Love & Trouble; Stories of Black Women Characters

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In Love & Trouble; Stories of Black Women Summary & Study Guide Description

In Love & Trouble; Stories of Black Women 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 Topics for Discussion on In Love & Trouble; Stories of Black Women by Alice Walker.

Roselilyappears in Roselily

Roselily is a woman who has had four children, one of whom she gave to the father because he was more educated than she and able to provide for the child better than she believed she could. Roselily struggles to care for her remaining three children working in a clothing factory. Roselily dislikes the work and worries that she is not providing well enough for her children. Therefore, when a man comes along and offers to marry her, Roselily jumps at the chance.

As Roselily marries her fiancé, she thinks about all the respectability he can offer her. Roselily does not love her fiancé and she does not understand his religion, but when he told her she would not have to work anymore, she was more than happy to commit herself to him. Now Roselily thinks about the life they will have together and the fact that she will have to keep her head covered in public because of her husband's religion. Roselily wonders how the women she grew up with will react to this, but again thinks of the fact that she will never have to work again.

Mrs. Jerome Franklin Washington IIIappears in Her Sweet Jerome

Mrs. Jerome Franklin Washington III is an ugly, uneducated young woman who has married a schoolteacher she deeply admires. Mrs. Washington works as a hairdresser in a shop behind her father's funeral home, proud that she provides for herself and her husband without any help from her father. Mrs. Washington is deeply in love with her husband, but finds it a struggle to make him stay home with her most nights. Jerome seems more interested in his books and his friends than his wife, as shown by the fact that he treats his wife with distain and often spends his time away from the home.

Mrs. Washington begins to hear rumors that her husband is cheating on her. Mrs. Washington begins going around town, asking strange women if they are sleeping with her husband. Mrs. Washington becomes so obsessed with the idea that her husband is cheating on her that she stops working, she stops bathing, and she begins following her husband. Mrs. Washington even walks in on some kind of meeting her husband is attending, a meeting she does not fully understand. Eventually, while searching her bedroom to find a clue to her husband's lover, Mrs. Washington discovers that her husband's lover is not a person but black revolution.

Daughterappears in The Child Who Favored Daughter

Daughter is the sister of a man who has grown up to have a daughter of his own, one who is much like his beloved sister. This man loved his sister more than life, lured by her quick charm and soft beauty. However, when Daughter has an affair with a white man, the same white man for whom her brother works in the fields, she loses favor with the family. The man watches his sister tortured by the family, strapped to a bed and expected to die. When she does not die, the family only marginally cares for her, throwing her food when they think about it. One day Daughter is more like her old self and she charms her brother into setting her free. Immediately, Daughter commits suicide, leaving her brother to live with his role in her actions.

Dee appears in Everyday Use

Dee is the daughter of a poor woman. Dee never liked the home in which she lived or the disrespectability of being poor. Dee's mother always knew she was different and she worked hard to send Dee away from their world. One day Dee returns and she has a new name and a new opinion of her mother's lifestyle. Dee has embraced her African heritage and she has taken an African name to reflect this. Dee takes from her mother parts of a butter churn in order to decorate her home, never stopping to think of how her mother is to make her butter without these objects.

Dee attempts to take from her mother's home two quilts created by her grandmother and aunt. Dee's mother has promised these items to her other daughter on her wedding day. Dee argues that her sister will only put the quilts into everyday use, using the quilts until they fall apart. Dee says that the quilts are part of African heritage and should be hung up for display. Dee's mother sees nothing wrong with the everyday use of the quilts and insists on keeping the quilts for her other daughter's wedding day. Dee leaves in a huff, insisting her mother and sister do not fully understand their heritage.

Hannah Kemhuffappears in The Revenge of Hannah Kemhuff

Hannah Kemhuff was a young mother during the Depression. Hannah's husband often cheated on her during this time, leaving Hannah humiliated and desperate. Also during this time, the poor family would often take donations of clothing from the more wealthy families in town. One day Hannah, her husband, and her children stand in line with food stamps to collect the food the government was offering families who could prove themselves in need. Hannah and her children wear some of their nice clothing, determined not to lose their dignity in this time of need. However, the clothing contrasts with the rags other families are wearing and leave Hannah puzzled as to why some of her neighbors, whom she knows have nicer clothes, would go out in public in such rags.

As Hannah stands in line, she notices her husband making eyes at a young woman she is aware he has had an affair with. Hannah becomes upset, but keeps quiet. When Hannah reaches the front of the line, the white woman handing out the food announces that Hannah looks too rich to need free food. The woman takes Hannah's food stamps and gives them to the gambler behind her. Then the woman laughs. Hannah's husband and his lover laugh as well, going off together. Hannah is left alone with her children, who are starving. Over the next few days, Hannah watches as one by one her children die.

Sarah Marie Sadler Holleyappears in The Revenge of Hannah Kemhuff

Sarah Marie Sadler Holley is a white woman who believes herself to be friendly with blacks. Sarah often gives young blacks jobs on her farm and works with charities that benefit blacks. Sarah's favorite pastime is to gossip with young black women. During the depression, Sarah works handing out food to poor families in need. However, Sarah has a cruel streak and she once denies food to a mother with three children because she is dressed better than the other people in line.

One day, someone goes to Sarah and tells her that the black woman she refused food to, Hannah Kemhuff, has asked a black rootworker to put a spell on Sarah. This woman tells Sarah that in order to make the spell work they need hair and biological waste from Sarah. Sarah claims not to believe in these spells, but she soon makes herself ill trying to keep these items from leaving her home. Sarah locks herself in her bedroom and stores her waste in a closet to keep it from leaving the house. Soon Sarah's emotional state makes her very sick and she dies, just as the rootworker promised Hannah Kemhuff she would.

Rannie Toomerappears in Strong Horse Tea

Rannie Toomer is a young, unattractive woman who has only one person in her life that matters to her, her son Snooks. When Snooks becomes deathly ill with pneumonia, Rannie Toomer wants a white doctor to come and save him. Rannie asks the white mailman to get a doctor, but instead he enlists the help of the local rootworker. When Rannie realizes the doctor is not coming, she resigns herself to taking the help of the rootworker. However, Rannie has waited too long. The rootworker knows this, so she comes up with a way to get Rannie out of the house for a little while and to give her some hope. The rootworker has Rannie collect horse urine to feed to her child, promising her it could help the child. While Rannie is chasing a horse in a field and collecting its urine in her shoe, the child dies.

Myopappears in The Flowers

Myop is a young girl who is exploring the woods on a warm summer day. Myop is enjoying the nature and the freedom of being on her own instead of locked in a school room. Myop is like any other child on a summer afternoon. However, Myop comes across a beautiful rose that reminds her she is not like any other child, but a black child in a country where blacks are discriminated against. This rose is growing out of the skull of a man who was hung from one of the beautiful trees surrounding Myop. Suddenly the peace of that summer afternoon is gone for Myop.

Harrietappears in We Drink the Wine in France

Harriet is a young woman who attends a boarding school for black girls. One of Harriet's classes is French, with a middle-aged, white teacher. Harriet enjoys the class but she is always a lesson behind, leaving the teacher with the impression that she is not intelligent. However, Harriet is very bright in all her other classes and often reads long and difficult books that are not required reading in her courses.

Harriet is blooming into a woman and enjoys the company of boys. Harriet makes love with a boy in his car, but is not impressed with the experience. However, Harriet begins fantasizing about her French teacher, curious what it would be like to be with a grown man, a man who knows how to be gentle. Harriet believes this to only be a fantasy, unaware that her French teacher is having the same fantasies.

Mr. Sweet Little appears in To Hell with Dying

Mr. Sweet Little is a diabetic and alcoholic who lives next door to a family with several small children. Mr. Sweet often becomes ill due to his chronic conditions and will lie in bed, convincing everyone that he is about to die. However, his neighbor knows better and allows his children to kiss Mr. Sweet all over his face, bringing him back to life. Then the children play music on Mr. Sweet's guitar to lead him back to good health. This happens many, many times throughout the narrator's childhood until one day she gets a call to come to Mr. Sweet's side when she is at college. The narrator arrives to discover she can no longer bring Mr. Sweet back from the edge of death. Mr. Sweet dies this time, leaving the narrator his guitar and a lifetime of sweet memories.

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