Identity In Susan Walker's A Letter Of The Times

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Susan Marie is a character of Walker’s short story “A Letter of the Times, or should this Sado-masochism be saved?” who, gains strength from her ancestors. In her letter to her friend, Lucy, a black girl, she provokes her for being dressed as Scarlett O’Hara. She also writes about the efforts she made as a teacher in educating her students, both black and white about slavery, racism and God. For her, God is “the inner spirit, the inner voice; the human compulsion when deeply distressed to seek healing counsel within ourselves, and the capacity within ourselves both to create this counsel and to receive it” (p.243). In reading the slave narratives, she saw “this inner spirit, this inner capacity for self-comforting, this ability to locate god…show more content…
She also deals with the problems faced by the black artists in finding models for their art and how they strive hard to discover their models. The protagonist, Sarah Davis, here struggles to find the models for her white canvas and also the importance of her culture, roots and traditions. She, by claiming back her past and roots and also re-examining her own relationship to her family and community, brings about a new understanding between herself, the black men and her cultural tradition. As a young girl Sarah Davis has left her native Georgia to study art on a scholarship at Cresselton, a prestigious girls’ school in New York. She is one among the two black students in the school. Thus she is left with only one black face other than her own who can serve as a model for her community. As such she wonders how she will be able to capture or portray her people on canvas. She also finds “black men impossible to draw or to paint; she could not bear to trace defeat into blank pages” (Walker.p.250).Even her identity is also not known to her friends; she is just someone for her school mates; she is “interesting and beautiful only because they had no idea what made her” and “from where she came”

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