Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

Degree Name


African and African American Studies

First Advisor

Professor Carolyn Fowler


The novels written by Paule Marshall are examined chronologically to demonstrate how Africa functions and is represented in her works. Published interviews and essays by Marshall are also examined, as well as critical analysis of her works by scholars.

Africa is present in Paule Marshall's novels through ritual, history, language, and myth. Paule Marshall's work demonstrates how Africanisms operate in the United States and in the Caribbean. She articulates the need for people throughout the African diaspora to confront and use the past as a vehicle for empowerment. Marshall's protagonists are women who find that when they confront the past not only do they better understand themselves as African people, but they also gain greater awareness of their womanhood. Marshall's female protagonists discover that their African identity and their female identity are intertwined.