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Well Read Black Girl Summary & Study Guide

Glory Edim
This Study Guide consists of approximately 35 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Well Read Black Girl.
This section contains 520 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Well Read Black Girl Summary & Study Guide Description

Well Read Black Girl 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 Well Read Black Girl by Glory Edim.

The following version of this book was used to create the guide: Edim, Glory. Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves. Ballantine Books, 2018.

Well-Read Black Girl is an anthology of 21 essays compiled by Glory Edim, the founder of “Well-Read Black Girl,” an Instagram account which turned into a nation-wide book club and now even has its own literary festival in Brooklyn. Edim’s curation of essays encapsulates a diversity of themes and lived experiences of black, female writers and readers. Each essay provides a glimpse into the author’s individual life and illustrates how literature influences the development of young black girls.

For the purposes of this guide, five sections have been artificially constructed so as to facilitate easier reading, though the book itself flows from essay to essay seamlessly.

The first section looks at “Magic Mirrors,” “Why I Keep Coming Back to Jamaica,” “Her Own Best Thing,” and “Go Tell It.” Significant themes explored in this section include the burden and blessing of family, the role of family in encouraging reading in young girls, and the expectations faced by black women.

The second section consists of "Legacy," "Zora and Me," "Space to Move Around In," and "Gal: A Hard Row To Hoe." These essays all point out ways in which blackness as an identity intersects with other elements of identity, for example, sexuality, religion, or class.

The third section is comprised of “The Need for Kisses,” “Witnessing Hope,” “Dear Beloved,” and “Dreaming Awake.” Here, guilt emerges as a common thread throughout the essays, portraying the particularities of black girls’ guilt when faced with societal and familial expectations, personal failures, and imposed ideologies. The need to redraw one’s ideas of right and wrong, or one’s ambitions for oneself, also emerges as a theme.

"To Be a Citizen," "Two New Yorks," "Putting Women Center Stage," and "Finding My Family" comprise the fourth section of this guide. Origin stories become central to the authors’ personal narratives, as they help individuals make sense of their pasts, their families’ pasts, and the ways in which these things shape personality and ambition in America. For many of the authors, origin stories are fundamentally organic forms of ‘literature’ and narrative.

The fifth and final section consists of the essays titled "Complex Citizen," "Living a 'Soft Black Song,'" "Amazing Grace," "Continue to Rise," and "Books for a Black Girl's Soul." Most of these essays, with the exception of “Books for a Black Girl’s Soul” which acts more as a list of recommended reading, feature crucial turning points analyzed by the respective authors. Each author pinpoints and explains a moment in which they changed forever, whether due to a fateful encounter with a particular book or author, or due to personal confrontations with trauma and struggle. In each case, literature plays a positive role in self-development, either in that it reveals representations of black women who are relatable to the authors, or in that it inspires a love of reading and writing which overall improves the authors’ lives.

Each section lists essays in chronological order, as they appear in the book.

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This section contains 520 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Well Read Black Girl Study Guide
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