Colored Girls Rainbow Shange Play Reaction Essay

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The play, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf” was staged at South Carolina State University in 2013. Ntzoke Shange's play blends the finesse of performance art with the subtlety of poetry to communicate heady political and social concerns. The title of the play immediately alerts audiences to the weighty matters that will unfold on stage. Through the play, seven women tell their stories one by one, without interruptions, making “For Colored Girls” somewhat unconventional in its lack of an overarching plot. Each woman is named after one of the seven colors of the rainbow, symbolizing individuality amid diversity, and the importance of diversity as the defining feature of beauty, hope, and wisdom. Delivering their stories as monologues prevents the encroachment of hegemonic masculinity or racism onto their lives; the women take back their power through the art of storytelling. “For Colored Girls” is about self-disclosure, and of exposing the persistent but sinister underbelly of a patriarchal and racist society. Yet because each of the characters is empowered to tell her truth, the message of the rainbow offers audiences a message of hope and liberation. Shange also deliberately draws attention to the need for sisterhood via the message of the individuated colors of the rainbow, which only when taken together can provide its characteristic visual impact.

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Of course, the characters do raise several controversial issues in their stories including those related to abortion and suicide. All of the women have suffered injustice and violations including domestic violence and abuse and rape, with gender-related issues at the heart of each of their tales. They have considered killing themselves to obliterate the pain and transmute the suffering. Above all, “For Colored Girls” exemplifies intersectional oppression: the links between race, gender, and social status. Using poetic devices instead of straightforward prose is what distinguishes Shange’s play from others that address such issues with more direct language. Theirs are not stories in the traditional sense of there being a beginning, middle, and end, just as the play as a whole lacks such a traditional plot structure. The rainbow of women impact audiences precisely because they are able to use nonlinear methods of communication. In addition to the implementation of unstructured, nonlinear language, the women also interject poignant emotions into their body language and movements. Through nonverbal and verbal means, they send messages that are as pain-ridden as they….....

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Shange, N. (2013). For Colored Girls. Video:

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