Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)


School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name



African-American Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Daniel Black


This thesis examined the motif of madness in four literary works by Africana women: Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Myriam Warner-Vieyra’s Juletane, Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions, and Bessie Head’s A Question of Power. The study was based on the premise that Africana women’s literature serves a receptive purpose. The primary goal was to demonstrate fictionalized madness as a social metaphor and to show how it relates to the existential realities of black women. A deconstructionist approach was used to analyze the four novels, and, a convergence of feminist and Afrocentric theories was used to unearth the diverse realities of black women. This writer found that in each novel female protagonists were driven mad due to the oppressive forces in their societies. In their journeys through madness, they attempted to redefine their self-identities. The outcomes of these journeys ranged from fatal to successful. The conclusions drawn from this study suggests that there are universal truths in the lives of black women, evidenced by the common themes in Africana women’s literature.

Signature Location_Supplemental file.pdf (45 kB)
Notice to Users, Transmittal and Statement of Understanding