By Amy K. Levin
Africanism and Authenticity strains the continued impact of West African women's traditions and societies on late-twentieth-century literature via African-American ladies. the 1st 1/2 the ebook specializes in how those impacts permeate either topic and imagery in novels via Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Jamaica Kincaid, and Gloria Naylor. the second one part makes a speciality of fresh neo-slave narratives as works that sprang from the African event instead of works that purely parallel the unique slave narratives. Levin is likely one of the first writers to debate Toni Morrison's Paradise and Gloria Naylor's males of Brewster position. Amy Levin's learn is the 1st to concentration so explicitly at the value of West African women's traditions in modern writing through African-American girls. Levin demanding situations feminist experiences of those writings via revealing the level to which these reviews stay Eurocentric, whilst they query Afrocentric readings that draw merely on African male traditions as though they have been kind of like women's practices. In addressing those matters, Africanism and Authenticity is helping to refine the present dialogue of literary authenticity and files a particular culture that
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Extra resources for Africanism and Authenticity in African-American Women's Novels
His book, which concentrates more on folklore than on novels, begins with the thesis that “Black culture building in America . . represents an extension of African culture building and not European as it has so often been conceptualized” (4). While both of these works point in useful directions, they do not concentrate on gender issues, and therefore, they cannot consistently uncover the distinctive traces of an African women’s tradition. Indeed, given the increasing quantities of feminist texts, it is surprising that the preponderance of articles and books refer to West African male and female cultures and their myths as if they were the same.
Such a reading privileges what is distinctively female and Afri- Metaphor and Maternity in Mama Day 29 can. Dorothy Perry Thompson illustrates how Afrocentric and Eurocentric interpretations of the same tale will differ. First, she shows that a Jungian reading of Mama Day would interpret the cane as a phallic symbol, and the chicken coop where the eggs are stored as a female symbol. Yet, Thompson argues, chickens “are ever-present in the ritual drama of the diaspora. As noted by Zora Neale Hurston, they are especially important in sacrificial rites of the Hoo Doo culture of the American South and the Caribbean” (97), which in turn bears marks of African rites.
He perceives the “black vernacular tradition” as a “signpost, at that liminal crossroads of culture contact and ensuing difference at which Africa meets Afro-America” (4). Like others, he seeks African traditions through American cultural manifestations such as voodoo and obeah, offering readers an understanding of how African traditions might have been transmitted through the centuries. Thorough as this study may be, Gates is not entirely convincing on the applicability of his trope and theories to women.