"The Women of Brewster Place" by Gloria Naylor

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Lucielia's Conflict With Reality

The novel The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor focuses on the stories of several women who have refused to accept their own realities, causing them to create new realities for themselves. In "Lucielia Louise Turner," a woman's life is almost destroyed because she believes that she cannot survive the burden of truth. However, through a mother line, from the wisdom passed on by a life-experienced woman Mattie, Lucielia learns that truth is worth far more than self-delusion. Lucielia has a live-in boyfriend, Eugene, and they have a child, Serena. Lucielia works hard to make real her fantasy life in which mother, father, and child live happily ever after. She is proud that her child knows her father's name, however, Mattie shatters the protective covering around Lucielia's dream world by saying, "Better teach her your name...She'll be using it more" (96). Mattie, unlike Lucielia who is filled with unbridled optimism and self-delusion, is direct and grounded in reality.

She speaks with the knowledge of a woman who has seen many single women who are heads of their households. By cutting to the reality of whose name the child will need to know, Mattie bursts the bubble of Lucielia's dream world. After Eugene loses his job, he cannot take the stress of supporting her, Serena, and a baby that is on the way. He complains, "So now, how in the hell I'm gonna make it with no money, huh? And another brat comin' here, huh?" (94). Ciel does not want to see the reality of this nightmare, which can be seen through her determination to clean a pot of rice. She keeps trying to refill it until the water is clear, but "she knew the water was never going to be totally clear" (94). This mirrors...