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For colored girls who have considered suicide/When the rainbow is enuf

For colored girls who have considered suicide/When the rainbow is enuf

  • reading group guide
From its inception in California in 1974 to its highly acclaimed critical success at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater and on Broadway, the Obie Award–winning for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf has excited, inspired, and transformed audiences all over the country. Passionate and fearless, Shange’s words reveal what it meant to be of color and female in the twentieth century. First published in 1975, when it was praised by The New Yorker for “encom­passing . . . every feeling and experience a woman has ever had,” for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf will be read and performed for generations to come. Here is the complete text, with stage directions, of a groundbreaking dramatic prose poem written in vivid and powerful language that resonates with unusual beauty in its fierce message to the world.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 112 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451624205 | 
  • November 2010
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The stage is in darkness. Harsh music is heard as dim blue lights come up. One after another, seven women run onto the stage from each of the exits. They all freeze in postures of distress. The follow spot picks up the lady in brown. She comes to life and looks around at the other ladies. All of the others are still. She walks over to the lady in red and calls to her. The lady in red makes no response.

lady in brown


dark phrases of womanhood

of never havin been a girl

half-notes scattered

without rhythm/no tune

distraught laughter fallin

over a black girl's... see more

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf

includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

First published in 1975 and praised by The New Yorker for “encompassing…every feeling a woman has ever had,” For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf uses a complement of female narrators to examine what it is like to be of color and female in America. More than thirty-five years after its inception, the Obie-Award winning For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf continues to be read and performed around the country and throughout the world.

In her new introduction to the work, Ntozake Shange reflects on the legacy of her best-known work: “For Colored Girls still is a women’s trip, and the connection we can make through it, with each other and for each other, is to empower us all.”

Topics and Questions for Discussion
  1. How does “dark phrases,” the opening poem of For Colored Girls…, evoke the psychological states of th
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More Books from this Author

In a reflective tribute to the African-American community of old, noted poet Ntozake Shange recalls her childhood home and the close-knit group of innovators that often gathered there. These men of vision, brought to life in the majestic paintings of artist Kadir Nelson, lived at a time when the color of their skin dictated where they could live, what schools they could attend, and even where they could sit on a bus or in a movie theater. Yet in the face of this tremendous adversity, these...
Read more about this book

About the Author

Ntozake Shange
Photo Credit: Deana Lawson

Ntozake Shange

Ntozake Shange, poet, novelist, playwright, and performer, wrote the Broadway-produced and Obie Award-winning For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf. She has also written numerous works of fiction, including Sassafras, Cypress and Indigo, Betsy Brown, and Liliane.

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