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”Color Of Love” by Danzy Senna

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 The very title of this short story by Senna seemed to me paradoxical. while it’s only my opinion, no colors can define love and yet, the colors of love can be infinite. Right from the beginning, it’s obvious that Senna loves her grandmother. Although it seems Senna spent her childhood trying to understand and seek acceptance from her grandmother, she also seems to be seeking her own self-acceptance. Her grandmother, an immigrant from Ireland, established in the literary world, married for love and money. Being very opinionated, judgmental and unwavering on her beliefs about racism, caste, and lineage, she was at best, a brash woman. For Senna, growing up as a bi-racial child shortly after the peak of the civil rights movement, in a house where mother and father were political activists, she seems to have developed her own beliefs and ideas about race and she didn’t believe in class per se. Her grandmother would dismiss her blackness and tell Senna she should identify herself as white. She would question Senna of her personal relationships only wanting to know his race and if he had money. Her grandmother was set in her ideas and beliefs.

Senna seemed to struggle with finding her place as a grandaughter, but also in the world as well. It’s obvious Senna had resentments with the grandmother and even with her mother, a WASP(White Anglo Saxon Protestant), as she labeled her. Her mother did not stand up for herself or for Senna, her own daughter, justifying that behavior by reminding Senna not to disrespect her elders. All of the resentments she held onto over the years toward her grandmother culminated one day when Senna heard her verbally abusing the ‘cleaning lady’. She let go on her grandmother, defending the woman’s right to be treated with respect. With resentments comes anger, followed by guilt of one’s actions during anger, then comes shame for ones behavior, and finally with all of that comes acceptance. Sometimes rude awakenings can become spiritual awakenings. When Senna stood up for the cleaning lady and told her grandmother how she really felt, that is when they began to really know one another. This is when their relationship truly began.

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