"My Man Bovanne" by Toni Cade Bambara


This story takes place in the generation gap, specifically the gap between the people involved in the Black Power movement of the 1970s and their parents. There are two distinct voices in this story, that of Miss Hazel and Bovanne and the more political—and less “common”—speech of Miss Hazel’s children.

Her offspring are also the voice of the new Black community. Black Power, as it is presented in this story, intends to unite the Black community through a shared African heritage—Elo scoffs at the idea of a generation gap in the Black community—but the Black Power ideals have isolated Miss Hazel and Bovanne.

Hazel and Bovanne share a common trait of helping those who need help, which perhaps is a value of the former Black community. Hazel recognizes Bovanne as the blind man who always fixed children’s skates and scooters and, to be kind, dances with him so that he has company. Hazel’s children chastise her for acting “like a bitch in heat”…and for wearing a dress that is too revealing, and for drinking and for swearing… After such a show of disrespect from her children, Hazel becomes more determined to help Bovanne, “like the hussy [her] daughter always say [she is].”

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