Black Professional Women in Recent American Fiction

Black Professional Women in Recent American Fiction

by Carmen Rose Marshall


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The last three decades of the 20th century have marked the triumph of many black professional women against great odds in the workplace. Despite their success, few novels celebrate their accomplishments. Black middle-class professional women want to see themselves realistically portrayed by protagonists who work to achieve significant productivity and visibility in their careers, desire stability in their personal lives, aspire to accrue wealth, and live elegantly though not consumptively.
The author contends that most recent American realistic fiction fails to represent black professional women protagonists performing their work effectively in the workplace. Identifying the extent to which contemporary novels satisfy the “readerly desires” of black middle-class women readers, this book investigates why the readership wants the texts, as well as what they prefer in the books they buy. It also examines the technical and cultural factors that contribute to the lack of books with self-empowered black professional female protagonists, and considers The Salt Eaters by Toni Cade Bambara and Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan, two novels that function as significant markers in the development of contemporary black women writers’ texts.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786417124
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 12/05/2003
Pages: 227
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.45(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Carmen Rose Marshall is a professor of English at John Tyler Community College in Richmond, Virginia. She lives in Richmond.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Preface 1

Introduction: The Dearth of Self-Actualized Black Professional Women Protagonists 5

1. Consumer Desire for Self-Empowered Black Professional Women Protagonists 33

2. Craft and Culture: Challenges to Black Professional Women’s Representation 51

3. Production and Market: Social Challenges 77

4. Feminism and Nationalism: Conflicts in The Salt Eaters 92

5. Re-thinking Agency in Waiting to Exhale 126

6. Reader Response: Findings and Applications 158


Appendix A: Occupational Distributions of Black and White Women: 1940, 1960, and 1980 183

Appendix B: Family Assets of Black and White Women by Employment Status 184

Appendix C: Respondent Information and Questionnaire Results 186

Notes 191

Bibliography 205

Index 215

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Black Professional Women in Recent American Fiction 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Black Professional Women in Recent American Fiction is an excellent read. This book explores many aspects on professional women. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the topic. I look forward to reading more books by this author in the future!