"It wasn't make-believe like the movies" Performing the Future of African American Female Identity

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Description: Judith Butler's theory of gender and sexual performance can be extended to include racial performance and also applies to literature that is both written and set between the two world wars. African American female characters often attempt to use performance to recreate identity and achieve the American Dream. In addition, authors frequently demonstrate how imperative it is for these women to embrace their sexuality, the African American female community, and their family history during this process. Ann Petry's The Street and Nella Larsen's Passing depict women who struggle to mold their lives into the American Dream, and though none succeed individually, their conversations and interactions demonstrate the importance of these three vital components of identity construction. Toni Morrison's Sula offers a hopeful, contemporary perspective through her main character, a member of the generation coming out of this era, who embraces these qualities and uses performance to begin to revise black female identity.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work