Alice Walker’s Journey through the Past In the collection of stories, “In Search of our Mother’s Gardens,” Alice Walker, has one related to Flannery O’Connor. In Alice Walker’s, “Beyond the Peacock,” she journeys back to her hometown on a mission for wholeness. She experiences this walk through memory lane with her own mother. Alice Walker, who was twenty years younger then the famous writer Flannery O’Connor, admired O’Connor’s works. She grew up reading her writing and especially in college, she escaped in her books. Walker realized that O’Connor lived right near her, in her hometown, Milledgeville.
Walker wrote, “Still, since I have loved her work for many years, the coincidence of having lived near each other intrigued me, and started me thinking of her again,” (42). She had many questions she wanted answered. Walker was curious to see what lied ahead of her, abandoned in the two houses. She took her mother with her for the excursion. Walker and her mother visited their own house, first. When they arrived, they felt many different things. They remember all of their experiences in their home, including the farm, and new things they encountered. Even her mother was glowing, remembering all the things they went through.
They had good and bad times, but they still enjoyed visiting their past, together. Walker remembers some bad times she had at the house, for example, when her cat got lost and she could not get to it in time. Yet, she thinks and remembers all the good times in the field during her childhood. The gratification they shared together was a good thing. The two of them, mother and daughter, journey two miles nearby, to Flannery O’Connor’s land. Walker’s writes, “…just what is it exactly that you’re looking for? ” “A wholeness,” I reply, “…because everything around me is split up, deliberately split up.
History split up, literature split up, and people are split up too…” (48). She replies with all her emotions and explains she just wants closure. Eventually Walker pulls up to the house, she notices that it is well kept and she becomes furious. She becomes angry that someone is paid to take care of it, she is angry to see the way a rich white lived, compared to herself, a poor black. She does not like the picture of this house and she begins to change her mind. Her mother even says, “You cannot change the past,” however, Walker does not like the ending of her trip.
When Alice Walker decided to re-visit her hometown, she most likely did not expect the outcome. After leaving O’Connor’s home, she had many different emotions. She did not feel the same way towards her cherished writer. She felt ashamed as to what O’Connor did, and knowing she was black, she felt bad for her heritage. She did not like the way blacks were treated back then, and since O’Connor was a rich white, she disliked that. Maybe it is a good idea to leave the past behind you. She could have still been happy with her idol.
Works Cited Walker, Alice. In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens. New York: A Harvest Book Harcourt, Inc. 42-59.