Study Guide

Having Our Say Part V, Chapter 25: Bessie

By Sarah and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth

Part V, Chapter 25: Bessie

  • The only trip Bessie takes is to Jamaica with her friend Mary Watson. While there, Bessie is "treated like royalty by the higher-class" Jamaicans, even though her friend Mary is from Jamaica (5.25.10).
  • When she returns to Harlem, the Depression has already started taking its toll. She and Hap lose their office because they can't pay rent, but manage to scrape enough money together to return in a few months.
  • Despite her own hardships, Bessie does a lot to help her patients. She even gives an old woman her only radio because she would feel guilty if she kept it.
  • One day, a patient tells her that she is going to get an abortion, which would have been illegal and very unsafe at the time. Bessie convinces her to keep the baby by telling her that she will adopt it.
  • Luckily for Bessie, the girl decides to keep her daughter (whom she names Bessie) once she is born.
  • The two Bessies become a sort of mother-daughter pair, which causes some to "raise their eyebrows" (5.25.32).
  • In addition to her private practice, Bessie supports herself by providing services through governmental agencies.