Bailey’s Cafe by Gloria Naylor
Bailey’s Café is a story that is set in a magical place and many characters in the story have lost their souls and the café turns out to be a safe haven for them since it offers redemption to them in away. The novel demonstrates experiences that some African Americans had during that time. An author is comparing the characters in the story and contrasting them as well. Reading the story made me realize that the characters have various similarities, but they also have a number of differences.
All the characters in the book have to struggle for survival despite having great odds against them. All the characters in the book have been exploited either physically or emotionally. However, in the café, they feel safe and they are also able to contemplate what is happening to them. They also get to know what they can do next in order to make things right. All the characters that are in the book are black. They all went through that they haven’t deserved. They believe that the world has been a very harsh place for them. However, they get to share the stories of what they have been through and that makes them feel better since they get to realize that many people have suffered thus the suffering is experienced by many people in the society and it does not only happen to them. Sharing also gives them the courage to face the world in a better way.
The characters are different from each other as well and their experiences. Bailey is the cafe’s owner and many people refer to him as to the Second World War black veteran. He loves his wife Nadine very much. He also enjoys baseball. Despair and guilt overcame him when Nagasaki and Hiroshima were attacked using the atomic bomb. Nadine rescued him and also helped him to install the café where he could have the chance to have speculations regarding his life ad speak with the customers as well. He is very social and he talks with his customers a lot. He also allows them to stay in the café for as long as they want to while contemplating their lives. On the other hand, Nadine is an African American woman who is very beautiful and tall. She has been Bailey’s wife for twelve years. She is very self-controlled and she rarely laughs or talks, unlike her husband who is very talkative, especially with the customers. She is very temperamental and at times she even decides not to serve customers and that depends on the mood that she is in. She is also very principled and she had to wait for long in order to realize whether Bailey wanted her as an individual or a sex object. She believes that she should live her life as she wants to and she does not let anyone dictate the way she should lead her life. She also believes that smiling is not a way of showing that someone is pleased since some people smile even when they are angry thus she cannot smile just to show that she is happy.
Sadie is also one of the characters in the book. Her life is the one that has been very painful. For almost all her life, she has wanted to please everyone that she comes along especially her mother. Her mother had never planned to have children thus Sadie was a mistake according to her. She had tried to abort the pregnancy but she was not able to succeed. She also tries to please her husband, but he does not get pleased in any way. She uses silence to please both of them but they do not get pleased at all. Sadie is even seen trying to please people when she is employed as a maid since her main concern is to please the customers and the employers as well. Her self-esteem is seen to rise when Jones starts paying attention to her. That is when she becomes happy for the first time in her life and it is also the time when she does things in order to please herself instead of others. She also starts to appreciate herself when someone starts appreciating her.
Jesse Bells is also a character that tries hard in her life to please other people. She tries hard to please the king and she does that by being a good mother and being a devoted wife as well. She also dedicates a lot of time to her son and husband. However, she does not succeed since the king will never approve of her. She also thought that her son would be her way to become finally approved. She is shocked to realize that she is not going to be approved because of her child. Therefore, she turns into drugs as a way of consoling herself. She finds the café a nice place where she can contemplate her life and also try to forget about the problems that she has gone through.