For Colored Girls who Have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow is Enuf is a piece of work written by Ntozake Shange. It is written in an unusual style that is called a choreopoem. This style is very effective when done by a skilled poet such as Shange. She uses a combination of rhyming lyrics and a play like format to captivate the reader.

The subject matter of her work is very powerful as well. The entire collection revolves around how black women are oppressed and their courage throughout many trials. Using the combination of a unique style and riveting content Ntozake Shange sends a message of hope and pride to her fellow black women in her work For Colored Girls who Have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow is Enuf.

First of all, Shange writes in the form a choreopoem. A choreopoem is a piece of work that is written as a poem but is intended to be acted out on stage sort of like an opera.

It is constructed in such a way that it flows just as well on paper as it does on stage. She either writes in all capital letters or all lower case letters and never mixes them. This creates a style that she is personally known for. It sets her apart from other writers and makes her work original.

None of the characters have names or any type of identity except for the color of their clothes. When the piece is done on stage the characters are never introduced they are just eventually recognized by the color of their dresses.

This makes it a little difficult to follow for the reader or spectator at first but after the work is under way each individual may find they relate to a certain color and begin to follow the specific character wearing that certain color.

This is another literary tactic that Shange uses to separate herself from other writers. Shange writes much of her work from personal experience which makes her writing twice as interesting and powerful. She writes several different poems and has them all flow together as one, incredible piece of work. Shange epitomizes the choreopoem style of writing.

The theme of Colored Girls is mainly Shange’s view of other women of her own race. She writes of dreams that all black women had during her time. Dreams of love and of the good life were the only things that kept many women going according to Shange.

Despite all of the dreams and the steps that black women took to reach them they always seemed to be shattered by some heartless lover or destroyed at the hand of the white folk. Shange writes with such passion that anyone no matter what their background can receive the message in her writing and benefit from it.

“I can’t now I can’t be nice to nobody nice is such a rip-off” This exert from the book shows Shange’s view of life and social issues after she moved to Harlem. She has obviously lost all confidence and respect for everyone around her. Throughout the book, Shange continually bashes men and the way they treated women in Harlem.

She talks about the oppression that women had to endure when they gave everything that they were to a man and then that man took it all away without a second thought. Obviously there are a lot of unhealthy feelings held by black women when they cannot even afford to be nice to anyone for fear of being hurt or even raped for no reason.

The message or theme that Shange wants everyone, not only other black women, who read her work to get is her description of what it means to be a black woman in a world of harsh streets, deceitful men, and aching loss. She wants people to know that black women do not want their pity but their applause for the courage that it took to live through those difficult times.

Shange felt that people should know what things were like for colored women and that it wasn’t a walk in the park to endure what they had to endure. She is seeking respect from everyone who reads her writing. Shange accomplishes her goal by combining her captivating style and touching content in her work For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow is Enuf.

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William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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