Waiting to Exhale Social Concerns

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In Waiting to Exhale, McMillan tries to show the need for a radical improvement in gender relations, notably among African Americans. She does so through the characters of four African American women living in Phoenix in the 1990s: Savannah Jackson, Bernadine Harris, Robin Stokes, and Gloria Matthews. These good friends are intelligent, well educated, successful professional women in their mid-thirties.

Each is preoccupied with, and deeply frustrated by, her attempts to establish a wholesome, enduring relationship with a man. Savannah and Robin, still unmarried, encounter liars, philanderers, poor lovers, men flawed in various ways that make them undesirable or unable to relate and commit.

The situations of Bernadine and Gloria involve problems of single parenthood. Bernadine, mother of two, is undergoing a painful divorce initiated by her wealthy husband of eleven years, who prefers a white woman.

Through Bernadine's situation, McMillan raises questions about the damaging social effects...

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This section contains 429 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Waiting to Exhale Study Guide
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