Introduction & Overview of The Purple Flower

Marita Bonner
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The Purple Flower Summary & Study Guide Description

The Purple Flower 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 Bibliography on The Purple Flower by Marita Bonner.

The Purple Flower, by , an AfricanAmerican writer of the Harlem Renaissance, is a short, one-act play first published In Crisis magazine m 1928 and is, as noted by Joyce Flynn In Frye Street and Environs: The Collected Works of Marita Bonner, "generally regarded as Bonner's masterpiece.." Although it was never performed in her lifetime, Bonner was awarded first prize for The Purple Flower m the 1927 Crisis magazine literary awards

The Purple Flower is an allegory for racial relations In the United States, although It could be applied to the conditions of oppressed people anywhere In the world, at any point in history. The play includes two sets of characters. First there are the Us's, who represent African Americans Then there are the White Devils, who live on the hill, located "Somewhere," atop of which grows the purple Flower-of-Life-at-Its-Fullest. The Us's live In the valley and spend their time trying to reach the hill, a goal that the White Devils do everything In their power to keep them from attaining. The stage is divided into two levels, separated by a thin board that Bonner calls the "thin-skin-of-civilization."

The Us's occupy the upper level, which holds the dialogue and main action. The lower level is occupied by the White Devils, who have no dialogue but dance around and mimic the action on the upper level. The individual characters among the Us's represent a variety of attitudes of the oppressed, concerning the best way to go about raising their socioeconomic status.

In the play's resolution, an Old Man, calling himself a Servant of God, mixes, in an iron pot, a conjuring potion made up of dust, books, gold, and human blood. He then sends the bravest Young Us, named Finest Blood, off to confront the White Devils with the power of music, faith, and the readiness to sacrifice his own blood. The Old Man thus combines the contributions of many different members of the community to give birth to a New Man equipped to fight the White Devils for equality.

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This section contains 338 words
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