Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

Degree Name




First Advisor

Dr. Daniel Black


This study examines the onomastic consistencies in three of Gloria Naylor's novels: Linden Hills (1985), Mama Day (1988), and Bailey's Cafe (1992). The naming patterns exhibited by Naylor in the triad demonstrate a similar practice used by other African American writers. This thesis explores her use of the motif as well as her expansion of it to include feminist and theological tenets in order to challenge hegemonic systems, especially patriarchy.

To explicate the use of names in the three texts discussed in the thesis, the original Afrofemtheological theory is utilized to embrace all three of Naylor's clear influences - Afrocentrism, Feminism, and Theology - in the naming traditions evident in her works. In using a combination of various naming strategies, the three novels indicate that the naming process and the formation of self-identity are communal processes that are multi-faceted in nature. By including community, spirituality, and cultural history in self-actualization efforts like naming, systems such as patriarchy can be fought and demolished.

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