Thursday, October 26, 2006

Dependency and Companionship of the City

The ideas of companionship and dependency have been constant through all the novels we have read and is even more clear in The Women of Brewster Place. Throughout the first half of the novel, many of characters are interweaved throughout multiple stories, much like the line of women in Danticat's Krik? Krak!. Although these women aren't (always) related by blood, they offer each other companionship and share stories and wisdom. Mattie received shelter, comfort, companionship and wisdom from Eva and Mattie in turn gave such things to Etta Johnson while they lived together in Brewster Place. Kiswana, who receives help and support from her own mother goes on to pass those teachings and support onto Cora Lee who has the burden of caring for many children.

This dependency of women, or other people in general, sheds light on the purpose of the city and the role it plays in the lives of these characters. The city, because of it's tight knit structure and large populous automatically allows many people to come together and help each other. As Jacobs explains in her text Death and Life of Great American Cities, cities are kept safe because of the dense amounts of people living in them. Because there is such a high volume of people living in the same place, there is always going to be someone walking outside or sitting on their stoop or looking out their window and these people offer security to other people walking around the city. The people that are around outside are there to witness or see any mysterious behavior and therefore deter a lot of crime from happening in their city.

Just as the many women in Brewster's Place offer their help and support the city also offers it's support in form of protection from heinous acts that could occur on empty dark streets. Brewster's Place is often times described in Naylor's novel as full of people and children walking around or sitting on their stoops. They offer the protection in that town. And inside those buildings women offer protection to their friends and families. The city in Naylor's novel and Jacob's text offers it's occupants protection, companionship and something to depend on either through a small group of women sharing stories, advice and wisdom or the larger organism of the actual city offering it's protection from crime and loneliness.