Date of Award

12-1-1998

Degree Type

Thesis

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

African-American Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Daniel Black

Abstract

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.

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