In the Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf there are different ladies with different colors. Every lady and every color is very significant to this book. This text by Shange is full of symbols; each lady can be described differently. I believe each lady can be identified with a more specific description or feeling throughout the different poems that can be related to their color for example: passion for red, sadness for blue, fun for orange and so on.
I will start with Shange’s Lady in Red because it is the first color of the rainbow. Her second line in this book is “it was good! ” (Shange, 11) in the poem “Graduation Nite” (Shange, 7). Right away there is a sense of passion from Lady in Red. In the poem “No Assistance” (Shange, 13) she explains how much she has loved this man, sending packages, writing poems. In spite the fact that she loved him at the end of the poem she just leaves him the plant so he can water it himself.
The words that Shange used for the ending of this poem emit a very strong emotion-passion. Lady in Red is someone who does not hold back for anything or anyone; she will say whatever is on her mind. The color orange can be related to party, carnival overall: FUN and I think Lady in Orange is full of fun. For example in Shange’s poem “I’m a Poet who” lady in orange says she wants to sing and make everyone dance.
Also during this poem Willie Colon’s “Che Che Cole” plays and everyone starts to dance (Shange, 15).
Lady in Orange is the life of the party, has fun and wants everyone to enjoy the fun with her. She is the type of woman who even though might have problems, had a rough past she will let it go and enjoy the moment. Lady in Yellow is youthful and full of joy. In the poem “Graduation Nite” (Shange, 7) she tells everyone she was the only virgin in the crowd on graduation night, but by the end of the night she would “[give] it up in a Buick” (Shange, 10).
On her graduation night she was dancing, drinking and thinking she “WAZ FINALLY GROWN” (Shange, 9). This all give a sense of joy and youth and innocence because many times youth and innocence does not let us think past those actions before we have all that “fun”. Green is one of the primary colors and can represent growth and in Shange’s book this can be noticed from the second line Lady in Green has: “we used to do it all up in the dark in the corners…” (Shange, 10). Lady in green appears she has changed.
In “Somebody Almost Walked off Wid Alla My Stuff” Lady in Green is in search of her own identity Shange says “now why dont you put me back & let me hang out in my own self” (Shange, 49) this line truly shows growth in her. Lady in green no longer wants to be mixed with anyone else but go back to her own self. This can be any woman who has lost herself in a man but now searches to become her own person. Lady in Blue represents sadness. In the poem “Now I Love Somebody More Than” Lady in Blue expresses how much she loved Willie Colon and she traveled to see him at a dance marathon but Willie Colon never showed up.
She went out of control but no matter what happened she loved him more than that. In the poem “Latent Rapist” Shange starts by expressing how difficult it is to press charges against a friend. She makes excuses for the man that has raped her and betrayed her. Many women are represented by Lady in Blue, feeling upset and disappointed and betrayed by the ones we love. Purple represents royalty in many cases and it is a mixture of red and blue. Lady in purple is just that a mix of sadness and passion.
In “Latent Rapist” Shange’s character Lady in Purple says the guy might have “a lil dick” (Shange, 18), and “& expect like a stranger we always thot waz comin” (Shange, 19) these lines show anger although later on she say “we must have known … especially if he has been considered a friend” (Shange, 20) Shange expresses sadness in these lines. Lady in Purple manifests the betrayal and rage coming from some she knows and trusted. She represents the strength each woman has inside.
Lady in Brown represents the secrets that are part of our life and makes us who we are. Shange starts the book with Lady in Brown and the poem “Dark Phrases”. The first line “dark phrases of womanhood” (Shange, 3) dark phrases are the unknown; the secrets that have assisted this girl become a woman. Even though Shange’s characters are all different, each can be related to each other. The same way each lady can be related to every woman. Many of us have felt sad, happy, full of joy and wanted to share all of this with our family and friends.
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