How Paule Marshall’s Writings Transformed Me

Aria S. Halliday
Aug 26, 2019 - 5:00

My first engagement with Paule Marshall occurred while writing my senior college thesis on Black Caribbean women. The stories these women told about their lives drew me in—sexual assault and rape, lack of love from parental figures, circumstances facing racism and misogyny, feelings of hopelessness or despair—and how they found resilience amidst terror. Their use of Caribbean vernacular, too, connected me to the islands I had only visited, but knew that their history and language coursed through my blood. Although the assignment included eight women, Marshall’s life and literary production most reflected my lived experience, and countless other Caribbean and Black women.

Marshall’s life stuck out to me because her name (as well as the...

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