The Search for Selfhood in Selected Fiction Written by African- American Women Writers

BENLAHCENE, Mallek (2019) The Search for Selfhood in Selected Fiction Written by African- American Women Writers. Doctoral thesis, Université de Batna 2.

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This study targets specific works written by Afro-American women writers. It analyses Alice Walker’s The Color Purple (1982), Zora Neal Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), Nella Larsen’s Quicksand (1928), Toni Morrison’s Sula (1973), and Gloria Naylor’s The Women of Brewster Place (1982) from a Black feminist perspective. The research work adopts the reader-response theory approach focusing on the necessity of black women’s struggle to challenge and overthrow racial and patriarchal injustices and limitations in order to generate an independent selfhood. The purpose of this thesis is to explore black women’s quest for selfhood and desire to contrive stout identities despite the intersectional obstructions. This work explains the way these women writers highlight the female protagonists’ persistent efforts to overthrow the limited constructions about black womanhood, defy the domineering patriarchal and racial forces, conceive various innovative means to pursue selffulfillment, and change their state from being objectified and dominated individuals to individuals with a self-determining selfhood. Each woman character approaches her selfhood differently depending on her surrounding and the conditions she is living in. Because these writers focus on underscoring black women’s unique experience, their works not only disrupt the myopic representations of black women, but mostly become the emblem of a rooted tradition that approaches black female women’s selfhood as a rhizomatic rather than an arborescent entity. Though not all the novels are a confirmation of the women’s ultimate victory, they all highlight their maturity, psychological and moral development. After all, the route towards emancipation and self-fulfillment is more important than women’s eventual victory. These are all novels that explore and focus on the growth and maturity of women characters. They are novels of apprenticeship in the way they highlight the changing consciousness, personal growth, and profound comprehension of the female characters’ inner selves and social surrounding.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Afro-American women writers, black womanhood, black women, black feminism, oppression, patriarchy, selfhood
Subjects: Lettres et langues étrangères > Langue anglaise
Divisions: Faculté des lettres et langues étrangères > Département de langue anglaise
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2019 09:43
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2019 09:43

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