bell hooks: She Beat The Odds

bell hooks: She Beat The Odds

bell was born in the Deep South. She knew at an early age that she wanted to become a writer however; everyone in her life discouraged her. bell was told that she was a woman (a girl) and she was supposed to fish for a husband and have children. Being a homemaker was to be her only priority in her culture.

While growing bell was taught to be afraid of people… “don’t’ trust them, they’re out to get you so growing up she only had one friend, and even that relationship was hard to nurture. Her family did not welcome her companion into their home, and whenever bell would stay late at the girl’s, house, she would be subsequently punished upon her late arrival home.

bell watched her father make her mother into his servant. He would work all day and come home to a clean home and a prepared meal, for that was what he expected. She watched her mother work hard all day doing these chores, and her father wouldn’t ever say thank you. Whenever her father had a hard day at work, he would take out all his anger on his wife (yell at her, shake her up, and jerk her around). bell decided that marriage was the privilege for the man, and she wanted no part in it.

Through her strife, bell decided to become friends with the library; it was her sanctuary, her refuge. She would read for hours. She initially read romantic books but was disillusioned with the fiction, so she began reading poetry and in being inspired by the words, she began to write poetry herself.

Again, it was difficult for her to pursue her passions because her family tried to dilute her wants when she was a teenager, her family tried to set up with a boyfriend, yet they couldn’t understand why she didn’t want to be with a boy, so they called her “funny.” The more she retracted from her family’s matchmaking sentiments, she was pushed closer and closer to her female friend.

bell intentionally made herself unattractive. She noticed that the boys at her school liked the voluptuous girls so she didn’t eat much. Her wiry frame kept the men away. Even when she was in the library, the librarians gave her dissension for not being out looking for a husband.

She read Austin, Fitzgerald, Shakespeare, Hemingway, and Faulkner, which led to the inevitable conclusion that there was more to the world than the Deep South. She traveled/lived/learned about life through books.  Despite all her obstacles, she is a single woman, writing and teaching at University of California Los Angeles, (UCLA)


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