Black Women In Alice Walker's Really, Doesn T Crime Pay

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The dominant theme present throughout this short story is about black women who long to escape and be free but who are denied that freedom by the society they live in and by their husbands. Black men are portrayed in a negative light and are made to be the oppressors of black women. . In Really, Doesn't Crime Pay, Alice Walker continues to explore this theme of black men as the oppressors of black women. In the journal that Myrna writes her story, the entries tell about Myrna's desire to be a writer and her dissatisfaction with her life as a housewife. Spending her days in idleness and useless dissipation—she does not have to work—she falls prey to a young Black amateur writer who has not been successful or published. Mordecai Rich seduces…show more content…
Mordecai abandons her and soon after Myrna begins to reveal signs of an emotional breakdown. As her condition worsens, Ruel tells her she acts as if her mind is asleep, to which she makes the mental notes: "Nothing will wake it but a letter from Mordecai telling me to pack my bags and fly to New York" (Walker). Clearly she is depressed but what she needed to do was change the way she thinks about herself. Ultimately, it is not Ruel alone who needs to know that she is not "a womb without a mind," but she has to realize that she has the capability of being both "womb" and "brain"—both a housewife and artist and mother. She accepted the limits and failed to see any alternatives available to her, she commits the same kind of error that Ruel makes and boxes herself in. Complementing this confusion in her mind is another serious mistake on her part: her lack of self-involvement in changing her condition. She sits and waits for deliverance, expecting Mordecai to do for her what only she can do for herself. In the end she stays with her husband any only feels the fleeting victory of preventing her husband from having a child with…show more content…
She has a life of ease and that fact alone gives her ample time for self-development and cannot be compared to the lives of drudgery many of the women in that generation of Black women faced. Myrna's easy life is of little consequence to her, for in her mind and her fragile emotional nature she is blinded about the deeper cause of her problem, she lacks the practical knowledge and skills which would have enabled her to find a solution to her problem. Without it, she acts instead in response to her feelings of self-hatred; she continues to destroy the life she has by contemplating suicide and by committing cruelty against her husband. After release from the hospital, where she has recovered from her breakdown, she resumes her life of uselessness and idleness. She also continues to deceive her husband, who still hopes for the birth of a child, by religiously taking birth control pills. Illustrating her enjoyment of the pain she inflicts on him, it is, she says, "the only spot of humor in my entire day when I am gulping that little yellow tablet.... “Her spiritual death, then, is seen not only in these acts of cruelty, but also in her refusal to give birth to life”

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