Experimental Language Deconstructing Patriarchal Discourse in Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf

Open access


By sharing the experiences of women and the black community of her time, represented as a journey towards womanhood on stage, Afro- American playwright Ntozake Shange deconstructs the patriarchal structure of language, by pushing the boundaries of genres as she assembles prose, poetry and stage performance in a “choreopoem” capable of empowering and liberating the trajectories of the represented black women. The present study explores the semiotic and linguistic deconstructions of the patriarchal ideology in for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf, aiming at a discussion of the author’s experimentalism with language outside instituted discursive paradigms regarding women. Considering that the concept of the liberation of the individual is strongly historicized in the play, the characters of the seven ladies are focalized as being tightly related to the feminist movement in North America in the seventies. Furthermore, the implications of ideological impositions and limited roles for women in society are analyzed.

Boston College. BC Theatre. 2014. Web. 01 June 2015.

Beauvoir, Simone de. Balanço Final. Trans. Rita Braga. Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira, 1982. Print.

---. The Second Sex. Trans. Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier. New York: Random House, 2010. Print.

Cixous, Helene. The Laugh of the Medusa. Critical Theory Since 1965. Eds. Hazard Adams & Leroy Searle. Tallahassee: University Press of Florida, 1986. 309-321. Print.

“Craftsmanship.” Interview with Virginia Woolf. BBC Radio Broadcast. 20 April 1937. Web. 15 June 2015.

El-Shayal, Dalia. Nonverbal Theatrical Elements in Ntozake Shange’s “for colored girls...” and Intissar Abdel-Fatah’s “Makhadet El-Kohl” (The Kohl Pillow). Comparative Drama 37. 3-4 (2003-04): 361-378. Web. 06 June 2015.

Flowers, Sandra Hollin. “Colored Girls: Textbook for the Eighties.” Black American Literature. 15.2 (1981): 51-54. Web. 22 March 2010.

Gilbert, Susan, and Sandra Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination, 2ed., New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001. 3-44. Print.

Hammad, Lamia Khalil. Black Feminist Discourse of Power in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide. Jordan: Yarmouk University, 2011. Web. 01 June 2015. PDF File.

Martha and the Vandellas. “Dancing in the Streets.” Online video clip. You Tube. You Tube. 30 May 2008. Web. 20 October 2015.

Richards, Sandra L. “Conflicting Impulses in the Plays of Ntozake Shange.” Black American Literature Forum 17. 2 (1983): 73-8. Web. 10 March 2015.

Rushing, Andrea. B. “For Colored Girls, Suicide or Struggle.” The Massachusetts Review 22. 3 (1981): 539-550. Web. 01 June 2015.

Shange, Ntozake. For Colored Girls Who Considered Have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow is Enuf. New York: Simon & Schuster Inc., 1997. Print.

What Hapenned, Miss Simone?. Dir. Liz Garbus. Perf. Nina Simone. Netflix, 2015. Film.

The Dells. “Stay in My Corner.” Online video clip. You Tube. You Tube. 29 May 2013. Web. 20 October 2015.

Waxman, Barbara Frey. “Dancing out of Form, Dancing into Self: Genre and Metaphor in Marshall, Shange, and Walker.” Mellus 19. 3 (1994): 91-106. Web. 18 October 2015.

Whitman, Walt. Songs of Myself. London: Penguin Books, 1986. Print.

Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One’s Own. London: Penguin Books, 1965. Print.

American, British and Canadian Studies

The Journal of Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu

Journal Information


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 382 382 26
PDF Downloads 284 284 51