full title · The Women of Brewster Place
author · Gloria Naylor
type of work · Novel
genre · African-America novel
language · English
time and place written · Late twentieth century, cerca the 1980s, United States
date of first publication · 1982
publisher · Viking Penguin
narrator · Third-person omniscient narrator who explores the thoughts and actions of each character
point of view · The third-person omniscient narrative voice follows all the major characters of the novel, delving into their thoughts and histories in order to reveal their true nature.
tone · The narrative tone is a mixture of hopefulness and despair. At times it is sentimental and melodramatic.
tense · The narrative is told almost exclusively in the past tense, with occasional flashbacks.
setting (time) · The narrative spans several different decades depending upon the chapter. However, most of the events that occur take place over the course of approximately a few years in Brewster Place
setting (place) · The narrative takes place in an unnamed urban industrial city in the northern half of the United States.
protagonists · Mattie Michael, Etta Mae Johnson, Brewster Place, Cora Lee, Lucielia Turner, Kiswana Browne, Lorraine, Theresa
major conflict · The daily struggle to survive in Brewster Place is the central conflict.
rising action · A series of confrontations forms the central action in each chapter: Mattie’s escape from her parents’ home in the South; Etta’s encounter with Reverend Woods; Kiswana’s confrontation with her mother; and Lorraine’s decision to leave Theresa and attend a party by herself.
climax · Lorraine’s brutal gang rape in Brewster Place’s alley by C. C. Baker and his friends is the climax of the novel.
falling action · The falling action is found in Mattie’s dream of the upcoming block party following Lorraine’s rape and Ben’s death.
themes · The search for a home; the hopefulness of migration; the power of personal connections
motifs · Illegitimate births; flight; blending of lives
symbols · Brewster Place’s wall; sugar cane; color
foreshadowing · Eva Turner’s remarks to Mattie regarding her son Basil; Butch Fuller’s advice on eating sugar cane; the reference to Ben’s death at the start of “The Two”