[2015] Emma Koslo: Brown Girl Dreaming

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[2015] Emma Koslo: Brown Girl Dreaming

Brown Girl DreamingBy: Jacqueline Woodson

Summary

This is Jacqueline Woodsons' story about herself growing up as an African American in the American Northeast and South in the 1960s. She was born in Columbus, Ohio, as a decendant of former slaves. She is named after her father, Jack. "Beside Alicia another picture, my father, Jack, the oldest boy. Eight years old and mad about something, or is it someone, we cannot see?"(12). Much to her mothers disliking she is then called Jackie. She takes fequent trips to the South becasue her mothers parents live there, while the father can not understand why Mary Ann (the mother) loves the south so much, for the region was segregated and the people are radically charged. Mary Ann and Jack seperate after a while and Mary Ann takes her three children, Hope, Odella, and Jackie to the South to live with their mothers parents ot their grandparents.

Theme

I would say family is one of the biggest reacurring themes in Brown Girl Dreaming because through out this book it shows that family is strong. It envolves mutual love, loyalty, spirtural, and physical support of individuals that may or may not be blood related, but still act as through part of the family. The Woodson family line can be traced back to Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, and owing to such esteemed ancestry, they are expected to be hard workers and very high achivers. "My father's family can trace their history back to Thomas Woodson of Chillicothe, said to be the first son of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, some say this isn't so but... the Woodsons of Ohio know what the Woodsons coming before them left behind, in Bibles, in stories, in history coming down through time, so, ask any Woodson why you can't go down the Woodson line without finding doctors and lawyers and teachers, athletes and scholars and people in the government, they'll say, We had a head start. They'll say, Thomas Woodson expected the best of us. They'll lean back, lace their fingers across their chests, smile a smile that's older than time, say, Well it all started back before Thomas Jefferson Woodson of Chillicothe... and they'll begin to tell our long, long story"(9).

Characters

Jacqueline (Jackie) Woodson: She is the main character, narrator and author of Brown Girl Dreaming. Also the daughter of Jack and Mary Ann Woodson. She is ready to change the world the moment she enters it. "I am born brown-skinned, black-haired and wide-eyed. I am born Negro here and Colored there and somewhere else, the Freedom Singers have linked arms, their protests rising into song: Deep in my heart, I do believe that we shall overcome someday"(4).Jack Woodson: Father to Jackie. "Good enough name for me, my father said the day I was born. Don't see why she can't have it, too. But the women said no. My mother first... And back and forth it went until I was Jackie and my father left the hospital mad"(7). He has strong views about a lot of things. Like how Mary Ann loves the South for some reason when it is segregated and nasty to Negros.Mary Ann Woodson: Mother to Jackie. She is a strong women from the start. Having four children, first to last only being six years apart. She withstands the pain of having lost her brother six months before her second child is born. There for naming her Odella after her brother Odell. "Six months before my big sister is born, my uncle Odell is hit by a car while home in South Carolina on leave from the Navy... Your brother, my mother heard her mother say and then there was only a roaring in the air around her, a new pain where once there wasn't pain, a hollowness where only minutes before, she had been whole"(22).

The racism and Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s is the decade in which Jacqueline Woodson was born. "...His name in stone now on the Civil War Memorial: William J. Woodson, United States Colored Troops, Union, Company B 5th Regt. A long time dead but living still among the other soldiers on that monument in Washington, D.C."(13) Willian Woodson was the only black child in a classroom of all white children and Jackies' mom warns her that she someday will have to face the same thing, for example, "You'll face this is your lives someday... A moment where you walk into a room and no one there is like you"(14). Beginning in Columbus, Ohio where Jackie is born. She spent her early years there with lots of trips to the South. She then moves to the South, more specifically to, Nicholtown area of Greenville, South Carolina. After some years there, Mary Ann decides she wants to move back North. She travels to New York City to get settled leaving the chirldren with the grandparents and when she returns there is a brand new baby boy in tow.

I definitely would recommend Brown Girl Dreaming to anyone who has a good time trying to follow along. Jacqueline Woodsons' writing style is unique, it is in a series of poems, short or long. It in a way is how we remembers our memories, in short segments. I rate this a four out of five stars because it is about her life growing up during the Civil Rights Movement and her point of view of everything going on then. It was a new experience for me and a great one too. Definitely give this book a try, it's worth it.

Recommendation

Setting

All about Jacqueline Woodson!

By: Emma Koslo 6th Period 12/6/15

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Charming, Unique,Positive, Inspiring,Critical, Informative.

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