Ma Rainey's Black Bottom Characters

This Study Guide consists of approximately 49 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.
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Sylvester Brown

Ma introduces Sylvester as her nephew. He is young and built like an "Arkansas fullback," and he stutters. He was the driver during the car accident, but Ma absolves him of blame. Ma insists that he introduce her song, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," even though he stutters. Critics have raised the possibility that perhaps Sylvester is Ma's lover, rather than her nephew, and that Sylvester's sniping with Dussie Mae reflects competition for her affection and attention.

Dussie Mae

Dussie Mae is Ma Rainey's beautiful girl (her lover). She is a "young, dark-skinned woman whose greatest asset is the sensual energy which seems to flow from her." Dussie Mae wears a fur jacket and a tight-fitting yellow dress. She is deferent to Ma Rainey, but when she is alone with Levee, she kisses him and tells him that she'll be his woman when (if) he gets his band...

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This section contains 1,305 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Ma Rainey's Black Bottom Study Guide
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Drama for Students
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.