Date of Award

12-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

English

Abstract

This thesis examines the reconstruction of male and female characters in

African American literature set in the first half of the twentieth century. Nella Larsen's

Passing, James Baldwin's Another Country, Toni Morrison's Sula, and Daniel Black's

Perfect Peace all illustrate the emergence of transformed characters into traditional dimensions through gender role reversals. The focus of this study is to explore how the authors' characters reject societal norms in hopes of producing needed changes in their era. The environmental, social, and familial structures within the four novels create platforms for change within the stories. Larsen and Morrison develop female characters who are assigned stereotypically masculine traits, while, correspondingly, Baldwin and Black feminize men, ascribing to them traditional behaviors.

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