The introduction and sections throughout the book are written in this voice as the different stories of Bascombe Wade, Sapphira Wade, and what exactly "18 and 23" is.
An example of this communal voice is in this sentence from the introduction that states, "And he coulda listened to them the way you been listening to us right now." Rita Mae Brown states that "The different voices are beautifully realized but confusing to read." As well as the communal voice, Mama Day offers both a first-person narration and occasionally a free indirect discourse that gives readers direct access to Mama Day's thoughts. In her narration she often speaks about what is taking place at present or events from her past.
The novel takes place within the same fictional universe as some of Naylor's other novels, indicated through its passing references to events and characters from both Linden Hills and Bailey's Cafe.
Mama Day centers around the characters George and Cocoa.
George and Cocoa begin to date and marry suddenly, but George doesn't visit Willow Springs with Cocoa for four years, during which time Cocoa never shares with him the more unusual and even supernatural aspects of Willow Springs.
Essays On Mama Day
After several years they return to Willow Springs together.
1st person narration – Cocoa's and George's first person narration, which is displayed as a conversation to one another about events that have occurred, is the other narrative voice.
It switches between the two characters without any evidence other than a brief space between the two sections.
The story, which makes many allusions to the dramatic works of Shakespeare, focuses upon the tragic love affair of "star-crossed" lovers Ophelia "Cocoa" Day and George Andrews.
The setting of the novel is split between New York City, where George was born and raised and Ophelia has recently moved, and Willow Springs, a fictional community situated on a coastal island on the border of Georgia and South Carolina where Ophelia's family has lived for several generations.