Ma Rainey's Black Bottom Essay

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In the following essay, Adell provides background on the real Ma Rainey, and explores the theme of blues music as release from oppression in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.

I've traveled 'Til I'm tired
And I ain't satisfied
I've traveled 'til I'm tired
And I ain't satisfied
If I don't find my sweet man
I'll ramble 'til I die
Ah Lawdy Lawd Lawd Lawdy
Lawd Lawdy Lawd lawd Lawd
Ah Lawdy Lawd lawd lawdy
Lawd lawdy lawd lawd lawd
Lawd lawdy Lawd Lawd Lawd
Lawd Lawdy lawd lawd lawd
—"Slow Drivin' Moan" by
Gertrude (Ma) Rainey
Oh Ma Rainey
Sing yo' song;
Now you's back
Whah you belong,
Git way inside us,
Keep us strong.
— Sterling Brown





















August Wilson's drama receives its strongest impulses from what Houston Baker has called the "blues matrix"—that metaphorical space where down-home folk like Boy Willie, Wining Boy, and Doaker...

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This section contains 5,935 words
(approx. 15 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.