Background Maud Martha
Gwendolyn Brooks, a black American novelist and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, shares with Langston Hughes a remarkable ability to capture the plight of the Black community. In
, she writes about racial discrimination, economic and social strife, family, parenting, death, and suffering. Of equal remarkability is Brooks’ ablility to play with words. With language she is said to create, “a highly stylized screen of imagery and diction and sound—fastidiously exact images, crisp Mandarin diction, ice-perfect sound—to stand between the reader and the subject” (Littlejohn, 90).
is a novella written in thirty-four vignettes that span the life of Maud Martha. The vignettes paint a portrait of life which “teaches more, more quickly, more lastingly, than a thousand pages of protest (Littlejohn, 153). Thus Brooks succeeds in transforming pain into creativity.