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Joan California Cooper

There are many authors who have made quite an impact on the literary world. Joan California Cooper is one of them. She is an African American author whose rise in the literary world took place in the 1970’s where she worked as a playwright in California. Soon she authored short stories and novels in Texas. Her biography remained a secret as much of it still does today. The name “California” is one which she gave to herself and only on rare occasions did she divulge her first name of “Joan”.

While very little may be known about her life there is quite a lot known about the impact of her work. Her work seeks to face the everyday struggles of the mind as well as the body and the heart. Her characters are often poor African American females who speak openly about their various relationships to friends as well as family members and men. The narratives are humorous and narrative in their tone with a conversational style.

When something is not plainly spoken in a literary work, it usually is an intentional action on the part of the writer. For example, this writer integrates many of these devices such as: Ambiguity. This is when the author uses unclear or non-specific language. It’s a good way to make a point without stating it in an obvious way. Subtlety. This is when the writer uses very gentle phrasing to get make a point. Instead of choosing blunt words or describing something in great detail, the writer will imply or suggest the concept more artfully. Contradiction. This can mean several different things when the writer is trying to create an impact with his or her text. For example, a dark story in a bright environment is a good contradiction that can be used to make a specific point. Irony. When an author wants to add a twist to the story, he or she will often use an ironic event or issue. Incongruity. When good writers use absurdity or strangeness as a device in their stories, they are always doing so intentionally.

Using these tools Cooper’s characters are those looking for blame to be placed on their own actions not the world around them. The characters being female display men through their eyes. Men are seen as one of two types of people. They are either compassionate and hard working and yet imperfect or they are unreliable and self-centered seemingly unable to make a meaningful commitment. In almost every story the irony is that those characters who are selfish and don’t commit to a long term relationship are those who end up alone.

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