Date of Award

5-1-1997

Degree Type

Thesis

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Mary A. Twining

Abstract

This study examines the use and documentation of folklore within Emancipation narratives. This examination is predicated on the behavior of the trickster, Br’er Rabbit. Through analysis of Br’er Rabbit’s behavior, three survival techniques used by the authors in this study function as a means of determining his importance to African Americans.

Through research and comparison of narratives, examination of historical references, and critical analyses, the researcher evaluated the behavior and experiences of African Americans within captivity to establish the use of folklore as a survival mechanism. By application of a methodology which evaluates African American experience and culture, the researcher sought to reinforce the connection between literature and culture. The researcher determined that cultural retention was evident and necessary to African Americans regardless of their circumstances.

The conclusions of this analysis validate the importance of the narrative as a historical and cultural source for African American existence in America. The researcher’s methodology suggests that the use of folklore within the narrative is derivative of the imitation and revision of linguistic and physical motion specific to African American culture.

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