Brown Girl Dreaming Book Analysis
Eventually, however, Jack comes and begs for Mama’s forgiveness, and Mama and the children return to Ohio. After a second try, however, the couple fights again, and Mama leaves Jack for good, taking the children back with her to Greenville.
Woodson’s paternal grandparents live in Nelsonville, a town near Columbus, and Woodson and her family often visit them there. In “the woodsons of ohio,” her father’s family traces its history back to Thomas Woodson of Chillicothe, “said to be / the first son / of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings” (8). They are a family of “doctors and lawyers and teachers / athletes and scholars and people in government.” Woodson’s mother is from Greenville, South Carolina, and she misses her own family there. She forms a bond with Hope, her mother-in-law, who also has family in Greenville. Woodson’s mother would prefer to live in the South near her own family, while Woodson’s father would prefer that his children be raised up North. This disagreement eventually leads to their separation and divorce. Woodson’s mother takes her children to Greenville permanently to live with their grandparents Georgiana and Gunnar, and Woodson’s father drops out of their life for many years. Woodson and her siblings learn to call Gunnar, their grandfather, “Daddy.” Woodson comes to love the fertile landscape of the South, and the sense of community in their neighborhood, Nicholtown, a Black suburb of Greenville. At the same time, the South is where she first begins to experience racial prejudice, and to become aware of the Black struggle for civil rights.