All God's Chillun Got Wings: Play - Summary & Analysis

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      It is a strong and noble drama about a white woman who is turned out by her gangster lover and taking revenge, makes a black man. For this she is so tortured by her sense of guilt that she wants to kill her husband, and finally, she goes mad. The black, who cannot finish his studies because of her, will all his life care selflessly for his insane lover. Ella breaks down mentally, not being able to endure the intensity of the conflict between her sincere feeling for Jim and her need to keep him in and inferior position. Jim retains the spark of a true human being, even in the face of the complete dissolution of all his life’s ideals and aspirations.

Critical Analysis

      The treatment of the seven scenes punctuating the main stages of the hero’s and heroine’s lives is expressionistic. The conflict in the play has profound meaning. In a society where a man’s value is determined not by his inner worth but by his outer appearance, human understanding becomes distorted. Obviously Jim’s personal qualities place him above Ella. He has more in him that is truly human. He is capable of loving strongly and deeply. He despises in himself any sign of the slave mentality, which he inherited because of his race’ white for him is the symbol of human dignity.

      Ella, on her part, was also branded by society because she is a ‘fallen’ woman. For her, and also for Jim, the marriage is an attempt to compensate for past humiliation. But worse, to restore her human dignity, she wants to subjugate him to her own will. Both of the main characters are the victims of society. He is a member of the ‘inferior’ race but she the member of the ‘inferior’ sex.

      The play is fundamentally a tragedy of alienation. It dramatizes the tragic failure of Jim “Crow” Harris to ‘belong’ - either to his white wife or to the white man’s society. It is the society which prevents the true union of Negro and white.


      The play achieves neither unity, nor dramatic conviction. It also fails to achieve tragic stature. The depth of genuine feeling is absent in this play. Moreover, the ending of the play rings false.

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