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. Susan Wright

Second Advisor

Dr. Viktor Osinubi

Abstract

Historically, and in literature, the concept of black masculinity is often viewed from a Euro-American perspective. This perspective makes the stages of progression to manhood problematic for black males. Since slavery, African American men have been hampered in their progress toward manhood based on the oppressors’ expedient notion that black males are incapable of self-actualization, a concept that was utilized to ensure that black males were always “boys” and, thus, more manageable. Recently, revisionist history, along with black authored literature, has resulted in a different perspective of black masculinity and black manhood. This thesis illustrates that Earnest Gaines’s A Gathering ofOld Men and Daniel Black’s They Tell Me ofA Home offer a new paradigm for black masculinity and manhood through the perspective of their black male characters. In Gaines and Black’s novels, black males redefine their own concepts of manhood by engaging in self-innovation through spirituality and by resisting racial oppression.

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