Date of Award

5-1-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Viktor O. Osinubi

Second Advisor

Dr. Hazel Ervin

Third Advisor

Dr. Alma Vinyard

Abstract

This is a study of women’s struggles in a system of patriarchy as portrayed in the works of Willa Cather, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison. The selected works include: My Antonia, The Color Purple, and Sula. Most commonly, in a patriarchal society, masculinity is usually defined by aggression and dominance, whereas femininity is portrayed as symbolic of passivity and submission. The need for women to be submissive in a male-dominated society caused many of the women characters to begin to suffer from lack of individuality and self-expression. The idea that women often evolve into different personalities because of their life experiences and struggles is at the center of the works selected for this study. In these particular works, the writers demonstrate that in spite of ethnicities and family backgrounds, many women living under the system of patriarchy become strong and outspoken because of their personal experiences and life challenges, while some of them become casualties of their struggles but learn from the experiences in order to become agents of social change.