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Research Paper on Dori Sanders' Clover

Dori Sanders' novel Clover presents many images of black and white, both in the literal and in the figurative sense. The Southern culture that is entrenched in Clover's blood is a culture that places her out of control of her destiny, as many African American's experienced for decades after slavery was abolished. In the figurative sense, the life of Clover symbolizes the world of differences between black and white and the many similarities brought together by family, love, and basic humanity.


Clover and Slavery

Sanders uses her vivid memories of the South Carolina that she knew growing up in a world that parallels Clovers. By creating realist details, the story of Clover is truly believable and identifiable. The reality of the culture of a traditional Southern black family bring home the theme of the story ever more brilliantly. The story of Clover is also the story of the South and its struggle to progress past prejudice and move into the 20th Century with some form of peace between the races. The tension of the struggles between the races is voiced by Everleen when she tells niece about how white people donate money to animal shelters. She reasons that they do this "because they feel so guilty over the way their people treated us.  They think by being extra kind to animals, it'll get them into heaven". Everleen serves as a woman caught in the transition between two cultures. While she criticizes Sara Kate, such as mentioned in the previous passage, she also wishes for the opportunity that Sara Kate provides Clover, in as far as a monetary and social benefits. This causes confusion for Clover, however, time would reveal the pure motives of Everleen.

The Symbolism in Clover

Sanders uses many devises to illustrate the different lifestyles that Clover is torn between, such as: From the very first page of the novel, Clover's disdain for the white world is symbolized by her dwelling on the dress she wore for her father's funeral. Clover chose a black one but Sara Kate made her wear a white dress, even though it was highly inappropriate for a funeral.  The symbolism in this rests in the fact that Clover was thrust into the white world when her father died and was stripped of her black heritage when she was in the presence of white people.

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