By Amy K. Levin
Africanism and Authenticity strains the continued effect of West African women's traditions and societies on late-twentieth-century literature by means of African-American girls. the 1st half the e-book makes a speciality of how those affects permeate either subject matter and imagery in novels through Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Jamaica Kincaid, and Gloria Naylor. the second one part makes a speciality of fresh neo-slave narratives as works that sprang from the African adventure instead of works that in simple terms parallel the unique slave narratives. Levin is likely one of the first writers to debate Toni Morrison's Paradise and Gloria Naylor's males of Brewster position. Amy Levin's examine is the 1st to concentration so explicitly at the significance of West African women's traditions in modern writing by means of African-American girls. Levin demanding situations feminist experiences of those writings by means of revealing the level to which these stories stay Eurocentric, whilst they query Afrocentric readings that draw in simple terms on African male traditions as though they have been similar to women's practices. In addressing those concerns, Africanism and Authenticity is helping to refine the present dialogue of literary authenticity and files a particular culture that
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Extra resources for Africanism and Authenticity in African-American Women's Novels
Throughout, I have taken a dual approach to Africanisms in these authors’ novels. In tracing resemblances between West African women’s rituals and the lives of women characters, I illustrate the continuing importance of a heritage that is black, female, and African. I have also focused on another aspect of African influences: how they permeate the novels’ structures and styles. Each of the four authors uses Africanisms in ways that are appropriate to her aesthetic and thematic goals. In Naylor’s Mama Day, the community of Willow Springs reflects the values and power relations evident in West African women’s societies.
An engineer, George is associated with Western science rather than African forms of knowledge. Moreover, George’s background is the antithesis of Willow Springs; an orphan, he knows little about his kin. His last name, inherited from the benefactor of the orphanage he attended, indicates no blood ties. Instead, it reminds readers of the way African-American slaves bore their owners’ last names. As George himself comments to Cocoa, “You had more than a family, you had a history. And I didn’t even have a real last name” (129).
As George himself comments to Cocoa, “You had more than a family, you had a history. And I didn’t even have a real last name” (129). Within the structure of Naylor’s novel, George represents an AfricanAmerican culture that has been torn from African traditions; he is ignorant of the identity of his mother, Mariam, an Ethiopian refugee (revealed in Bailey’s Cafe). Thus, even though he is only a second-generation American, he is more deracinated than the inhabitants of Willow Springs. His scientific, rationalistic bias has failed to prepare him for the mystical nature of knowledge in Willow Springs, and his congenital heart defect is an expression of his emotional rigidity.