John Hatcher on: Aunt Jemima of the Ocean Waves

'Aunt Jemima of the Ocean Waves' portrays Hayden's own mythological figure of resilience. . . . Hayden uses the figure of Jemima as an archetypal symbol of the displaced Afro-American identity. The woman's lengthy narrative recounts her adventures from her days as the 'Sepia High Stepper' in Europe, to her present status in a sideshow as a 'fake mammy to God's mistakes'. As he listens to her intriguing narrative of 'High-stepping days', the persona finds in her a beautiful image of survival and strength, in spite of her ‘unfinished' or fake identity born from the original displacement of the culture. . . .

from From The Auroral Darkness: The Life and Poetry of Robert Hayden. Copyright © 1984 by John Hatcher.


Title John Hatcher on: Aunt Jemima of the Ocean Waves Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Criticism Target Robert Hayden
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 21 Sep 2014
Publication Status Original Criticism Publication No Data
Printer Friendly PDF Version
Contexts No Data Tags mythological, resilence, symbol, Afro-American, idenitity, survival, strength, fake, culture

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