“Women” by celebrated author Alice Walker takes a close look at the sacrifices African American women, especially of her mother’s generation, took in order to make sure that their children had better educations and futures than they did. In particular, Walker has said that she wrote this particular piece for her mother, who was a maid and the wife of an unsuccessful sharecropper. Nevertheless, her mother was determined that Alice and her siblings would receive an education so that they could have better opportunities available to them in life.
The poem focuses on the women of the narrator’s mother’s generation who made sacrifices and broke down barriers, much like warriors, in order to make sure that their children had a chance to receive an education. The imagery Walker uses is very militant, including comparing women to “headragged generals” leading armies across “mined fields”.
Education leads to more opportunities for children. In looking at Walker’s own biographical information, both of her parents didn’t make much money, which didn’t allow them many opportunities; however, their parents refused to make their children work in the fields and drop out of school to help work. To them, they hoped for a better life for their children, spurred on by their chance at a good education.