Saints, Sinners, Saviors: Strong Black Women in African American Literature

Saints, Sinners, Saviors: Strong Black Women in African American Literature

by T. Harris


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Saints, Sinners, Saviors: Strong Black Women in African American Literature posits strength as a frequently contradictory and damaging trait for black women characters in several literary works of the twentieth century. Authors of these works draw upon popular images of African American women in producing what they believe to be safe literary representations. Instead, strength becomes a problematic trait, at times a disease, in many characters in which it appears. It has a detrimental impact on the relatives and neighbors of such women as well as on the women themselves. The pattern of portraying women characters as strong in African American literature has become so pronounced that it has stifled the literature.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312293031
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan US
Publication date: 02/18/2002
Edition description: 2002
Pages: 218
Product dimensions: 5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.02(d)

About the Author

TRUDIER HARRIS is J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her authored books include From Mammies to Militants: Domestics in Black American Literature (1982), Exorcising Blackness: Historical and Literary Lynching and Burning Rituals (1984), Black Women in the Fiction of James Baldwin (1985, for which she won the 1987 College Language Association Creative Scholarship Award), Fiction and Folklore: The Novels of Tony Morrison (1991), and The Power of the Porch: The Storyteller's Craft in Zona Neale Hurston, Gloria Naylor, and Randall Kenan (1996). She has co-edited a number of influential works, including several volumes of the Dictionary of Literary Biography series on African American writers, The Oxford Companion to African American Literature (1997), Call and Response: The Riverside Anthology of the African American Literary Tradition (1998), and The Literature of the American South: A Norton Anthology (1998).

Table of Contents

Preface Introduction: The Black Female Body: Seeing, Believing, and Perpetuating Popular and Literary Images A Raisin in the Sun : The Strong Black Women as Acceptable Tyrant Strength and the Battle Ground of Slavery I: Even Parody: Ishmael Reed and Mammy Barracuda Strength and the Battle Ground of Slavery II: Survival Beyond Survival: The Price of Strength in Beloved Commanding the Universe: I. More Than Witch: Bambara's Minnie Ransom II. Tough Enough to Kill, Tough Enough to Transcend Death: J. California Cooper's Clora Strength as Disease Bordering on Evil: Dorothy West's Cleo Judson The Stubbornness of Tradition: I. Do What Big Mama Sez: Ernest J. Gaines's A Lesson Before Dying II. New Territory, No Change: Pear; Cleage's Flyin' West Balance? Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Sower Conclusion Can this Mold be Broken?

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