“in igboland” and Illness Narratives

I think that Nicole Sealey’s poem “in igboland” from her book Ordinary Beasts would make a good addition to the course because it reminds me a bit of Daughters of the Dust. The poem focuses on a town that builds a monument to a god and then burns it in sacrifice, with the speaker saying that “the West in me wants the mansion/to last. The African knows it cannot.” It reminded me a lot of the conflict between tradition and assimilation in Daughters of the Dust and also pays tribute to African religions like the film does.

On another note, some of the passages in Meridian about Meridian’s ailing health and the way she was treated when she went to get an abortion reminded me a lot of ways that women, especially women of color, have been mistreated and dismissed by the medical system. I took the women and the politics of pain class the English department offered a few years ago that focused on this general topic, and we read a few personal essays like this one that are about the writer’s health and their negative experiences with the medical system. I think this article and others on the same topic are just good for making connections between what we’ve read and current issues.

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