Title

Using Trauma to Create Self-Empowerment in Female African American Protagonists

Date of Award

6-2-2011

Document Type

Capstone Project

Disciplines

Arts and Culture

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies

Department

Arts & Culture

Advisor

Jennifer Golightly

Keywords

African American Women Writers; Alice Walker; The Color Purple; Their Eyes Were Watching God; Trauma; Voice; Zora Neale Hurston

Abstract

Most African American literature of the twentieth century reflects the long journey from slavery, when slave narratives provided an outlet of expression, to the novel, which provided a venue for commentary amidst a changing political world. Female African American authors especially found a voice in this process and reflected African American women's struggles against stereotypes and oppression that abused and silenced them many times over. Three important elements are prominent in female African American novels: self-actualization, community, and unbridled expression of love. The importance of language and voice was a common factor among these three elements, and all were used as significant aspects to character development.

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