A Study On African American Literature English Literature Essay

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The representation of the South in African American literature is one that is tied into its history rather than geography. Various works that use the South as the backdrop for the content of novels present it as something personal that has shaped and outlined either the author, or the characters lives. Such novels as Alice Walker's Colour Purple and Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man use the South to depict the collective identities of the diverse population that inhabit the southern states by encompassing several motifs as religion, community and family. As Southern literature is steeped in history these common motifs resonate regularly due to slavery, the American Civil War and Reconstruction. Within these diverse communities, the rich southern history of the South is able to be explored as each character and author shares his or her experiences with the reader. As the slave states geographically map onto the southern states, the South provides African American literature with a sense of place, or rather a beginning to the journeys the authors are able to illustrate through their novels concerning slavery. However, whilst the South is described as a place of strong community values, racial tension, social hierarchy and the burdens of religion are also common themes. Throughout the course of this essay therefore, I will discuss the South in relation to its representation in African American literature, but also on the way in which authors depict the South as a place with strong unwavering ideologies that hinder the progression of equality towards its diverse community and how Southerners relate to their fellow Northern Americans.

Section One

'The rest of the nation never understood the South, and the rest of the nation never ceased to enforce its moral principles; and the South never ceased to resist and resent.'[1]

Howard W. Odum.

______________

As Southern literature is based deeply on the history of the area, the pieces of the literature that have emerged from the eras of slavery to the American Civil war and beyond, broadly consist of personal and eye witness accounts. Such narratives as Harriet Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl present themselves as true accounts of the way slavery affected life in the South. The author begins her story by telling the reader that she was 'born a slave, but [...] never knew it till six years of happy childhood had passed away.'[2] Immediately, the sense of misery and pain are associated with the life of this slave girl and during her time in the south the desolation continues as '[t]here might have been peace and contentment in [her] humble home if it had not been for the demon Slavery.'[3] In the author's narration of her time in the South, the significance of Slavery plays heavily upon her experience in every aspect of her life, as she herself an escaped slave, recites her dreams of freedom. In the South, as a slave, Jacobs is trapped and her only means of survival is escape, and travelling to the myth of the North. The Southern states were entrenched with Slavery more so than the North, therefore fleeing to the Northern states gave the hope of freedom, something deemed impossible in the South as '[h]istory [had] the set the south apart - a history defined centrally by the tragedy of chattel slavery.'[4] Through the practice of chattel slavery, the notion of belonging to one area consequently resonated within the South as it became a place of which there was no escape, and so the unique identities created within the area have grown within the communities of the South in terms of speech, traditions and racial tension. By speech and traditions, we allude to the southern accent and folk tales that have spread through generations, which identify with the south and its mix of diverse cultures. Alice Walker's Color Purple uses the southern accent to relate the south to the reader by immediately engrossing us in the character of Celie's thoughts. Through the dialect in her letters, we are able to map the journey of her self discovery in the South because although the dialect remains constant, her thoughts develop and we see a more confident Celie as opposed to the one the reader is introduced to. Celie's thoughts are primarily rural in the sense that her thoughts are narrow as she uses the letters to speak to god:

'Dear God, /He act like he can't stand me no more. Say I'm evil and always up to no good. He took my other little baby, a boy this time. [...] I keep hoping he fine somebody to marry. I see him looking at my little sister. She scared. But I say I'll take care of you. With God help.'[5]

Her letters are her primary source of self expression but they are only intended for God as for Celie, God is her only audience; the only audience willing to listen. The epistolary form allows us insight into not only what Celie is thinking, but how the workings of her mind function. From her environment, she is unable to voice the pain she suffers from her abuse and therefore accepts it. The South for Celie is therefore her rural prison, a place with few people but due to her social status she is unable to escape. In contrast, the character of Linda in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is supported by a network of family, however her family is also subject to imprisonment due to chattel slavery and therefore the South as a place of restriction of freedom both physically and mentally resonates in African American literature. Such restrictions including education refer back to history of slavery in the South as within racial tension, education to slaves in some states was illegal. In the remaining slave states, the barrier of having the available funds to send African American children to school was the main cause of uneducated slaves. If we are to look at literature past the emancipation of slaves however, we find education as much a barrier as it is an empowerment. Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man allows its protagonist the dream of a better future by giving him a college education, which due to his race and social position, he must physically fight for as in the brawl scene '[e]veryone fought hysterically. It was complete anarchy. Everybody fought everybody else. No group fought together for long. Two, three, four, fought one, then turned to fight each other, were attacked themselves.'[6] This brawl that occurs at the beginning of the novel emphasises the tensions within the African American race in the South, as well as how it was perceived by the dominant white culture. Whilst the protagonist is rewarded with 'a scholarship to the state college for Negroes,' Ellison is careful to highlight that this is due to the intelligence of his main character, as he 'makes a good speech and some day he'll lead his people in the proper paths.'[7] The possibility of a college education brings great pride and excitement to the protagonist, his family and community as even the neighbours come to congratulate him; however, accompanied with this joy is fear that appears as his grandfather in the form of a dream:

'That night I dreamed I was at a circus with him [...] he told me to open my brief case and read what was inside and I did, finding an official envelope stamped with the state seal; and inside the envelope I found another and another, endlessly, and I though I would fall of weariness. "Them's years," he said. "Now open that one." And I did and in it I found an engraved document containing a short message in letter of gold. "Read it," my grandfather said, "Out loud!" "To Whom It May Concern," I intoned. "Keep This Nigger-Boy Running." I awoke with the old man's laughter ringing in my ears.'[8]

Engraved in this dream is the fear of change, both within the character and his environment. As a child, Ellison's protagonist is hopeful and therefore represents the charms of the South as an area of hope, family and progress, despite the racial prejudices. It is important to note that he is so overjoyed by his scholarship that he is unaffected when he discovers that his brawl for gold pieces are really brass pocket tokens; which connotes the idea of falsities being coated in veneers of truth. The grandfather figure however represents a different South, as being a soldier in the Reconstruction he stands for the undermining of the dominant white power rather than acceptance of it. The dream therefore, set in a circus with the presence of clowns, continues the theme of masking the truth. Lucinda Mackethan in The Dream of Arcady argues that southern dreams have 'undercurrents of irony and limitation that sometimes surface without the author's consciousness of them,'[9] and ironically in the briefcase, the protagonist finds an envelope within his scholarship envelope. By removing the state sealed envelopes veneer, the protagonist is able to get to the truth, the gold letter which tells him to keep running. We are told that he is unable to understand the dream until he attends college which once again reverts back to the notion of education as both a barrier and empowerment. As education allows Ellison's main character to progress socially in the South, it also unveils him to the harsher realities of life that lie inside the social hierarchy within the African American community. However, with these opportunities such as the college for Negroes, Ellison presents a progressive South, one willing to aid its inhabitants to match the status of their fellow Americans in the North. According to John Donald Wade, southerners thought "they were desperately poor, while the North was desperately rich. They wanted to be rich too,"[10] and consequently in the novels of Ellison, Walker and Jacobs, the North rivals the South in terms of freedom and progression.

Section Two

"And we love to dance, especially that new one called the Civil War Twist. The Northern part of you stands still while the Southern part tries to secede."

Dick Gregory.

__________

It can be argued that Southern African American writers portray the North as other and foreign both to themselves and reflectively, on their characters. This is evident in a variety of ways, the most prevalent however by using characters who embarks on voyages both to and from the South. On these journeys, the authors depict both the North and South and how the characters relate to all the customs and characters they meet along the way, which in more cases than none end negatively for the visitor. In Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man the protagonist meets with a white Northern trustee of the college for Negroes, Mr Norton, of whom he escorts on a drive through the local area which turns into an excursion that foreshadows his expulsion from the college. The Northerner who, unfamiliar with the surrounding areas of the university, asks to be driven into 'new territory' which the protagonist all too late remembers is the dwelling of Trueblood, an outcast Southerner who's harrowing story reduces Mr Norton to faint.  Mr Norton is primarily intrigued by the log cabin of which Trueblood inhabits, remarking that he "would never have believed that they would be so enduring [as they were built] since slave times!"[11] Elliot narrates that Mr Norton 'seemed surprised and confounded'[12] which emphasises his alienation from the area. Through the story Mr Norton receives from Trueblood, accompanied with the heat of the South, the Northerner is unable to withstand. Michael Kreyling in his book Inventing Southern Literature argues that 'if one must be born in the South to participate meaningfully in its dialogue, then there is in fact only a monologue,'[13] and in the case of Mr Norton who is unable to comprehend Trueblood's story, the South is merely a monologue as he cannot continue in discourse with the Southerner and orders for the protagonist to drive him away. Ellison's of the alienation of the Northerner results in punishment to the unnamed main character who in confrontation to senior management of his college, experiences rage and hatred to his own kind.

Dr Bledsoe, the black college administrator president primarily gains the protagonists admiration as he was 'everything [he] hoped to be: Influential with wealthy men all over the country; consulted in matters concerning the race; a leader of his people.'[14] However with more insight into Dr. Bledsoe's character, both the reader and the central character realise that his intentions are purely personal. Dr Bledsoe, outraged that the narrator took Mr Norton so far comments that he does not care what the white man or indeed authority wants, when he says that 'We take these white folks where we want them to go, we show them what we want them to see.'[15] The power struggle between the North and South here comes into play, but more so the power struggle within the African American community. The narrator and Dr. Bledsoe cross paths when neither is able to comprehend the other in terms of the choices they make. Dr. Bledsoe believes that he has 'bowed and scraped and begged and lied enough'[16] to gain power from the white man and therefore is annoyed that the narrator did not employ this power whilst he was behind the wheel with Mr Norton. By not enforcing power, Dr. Bledsoe believes that the narrator has gone backwards and 'dragged the race into the slime,'[17] which reflects the mindset of the character of the grandfather at the beginning of the novel:

"Live with your head in the lion's mouth. I want you to overcome 'em with yeses, undermine 'em with grins, agree 'em to death and destruction, let 'em swoller you till they vomit or burst wide open."[18]

Both Bledsoe and the narrator's grandfather share the same frame of mind in that to undermine the white man, you have to gain his support by appearing to agree with them on any and every issue. Elliot narrates that as long as power is perceived to be obtained then it does not matter who is in control of it, as for Bledsoe, 'power doesn't have to show off. Power is confident, self-assuring, self-starting and self-stopping, self-warming and self-justifying.'[19] The notion of self awareness and self approval resonates within the ideologies of the South, in that in African American literature, Southerners share a sense of pride, one that is unique and binds them together. This shared mentality aids in explaining the tension with the Northerners because as outsiders, they cannot understand the customs of the area and are therefore pictured as 'other and as foil to the South.'[20]

In portraying the tensions between the North and South, African American literature employs the social attitudes of society of the authors' time. Such authors as Charles W. Chesnutt who wrote in a time where white supremacy was being reasserted after the emancipation, uses this backdrop in many of his short stories, in particular, Mars Jeems Nightmare. In this short story, Chesnutt depicts the Northerner as a plantation owner who is described as someone that 'hab no feelin' fer nobody.'[21] The North is therefore perceived as hostile and oppressive, and in this text, something to be defeated. Mars Jeem is manipulated by the customs of the South as he is manipulated to drink goopher, a magical potion turning him into a slave; which due to his ignorance and arrogance he consumes. However, although the North is frequently perceived as other, in many texts it is also for Southerners the place of escape. Such historical events as the Great Migration emphasise the notion that the South for African Americans was a place of great social distress. If we are to return to the work of Harriet Jacobs, we are able to see the imagined sanctity of the North. Michael Kreylin argues that '[t]he myth and the history feed one another; together they make consciousness a process, and we are in it, body and mind'[22] which relates to the consciousness of the slaves in Jacob's narrative, as the myths of the North such as freedom and equality play in the minds of the main characters. The novels heroine Linda, in her desperation to find freedom for both herself and her children, resorts to hiding from her Master, Dr. Flint by looking north and hiding in a small attic space. Subconsciously, the North in the eyes of this Southerner has connotations of freedom and whether or not these ideas are real is overridden by the need for survival. In addition, in the narrative of Jacobs, it is important to note the relationship between gender and race as whilst being African American causes tension with the white supremacy, being a woman further caused distress for everyday life.

Section Three

But to be a woman of the Negro race in America, and to be able to grasp the deep significance of possibilities... is to have a heritage... unique in the ages.[23]

Anna Julia Cooper

_____________

In Incident in the Life of a Slave Girl Jacobs narrates of the hardships of the South but in depth reading shows the reader that although Linda must hide, it is from the pursuance of Dr. Flint and not the destitution of the South in the following:

'It seemed horrible to sit or lie in a cramped position day after day, without one gleam of light. Yet I would have chosen this, rather than my lot as a slave, though white people considered it an easy one; and it was so compared with the fate of others. I was never cruelly treated [...]. On the contrary I had always been kindly treated, and tenderly cared for, until I came into the hands of Dr. Flint. I had never wished for freedom till then.'[24]

The reoccurring notion of power in the South here shows the struggle between genders as well as race. As the American South was full of racial oppression, the patriarchal society pushed women further down the hierarchy, and from the narratives that have come from African American literature, it is clear to see a difference in experience from the females as opposed to the males. Jacob's heroine suffers under the pressures of the male to more of extent than the pressures from slavery, which place gender and race hand in hand. Anne Jones and Susan V. Donaldson in their text named Haunted Bodies discuss the figure of the body in the American South. They argue that 'it is not sexuality which haunts society, but society which haunts the body's sexuality,' and that 'surely no bodies ever appeared more haunted by society'[25] than in the South. The female, being near the bottom of the social hierarchy in African American literature suffers detrimentally as due to the power struggle in society, women had relatively no outlets to unload their sufferings. Celie in the Colour Purple initially turns to God by writing letters to him until the point where she no longer has faith and the load of hardships in her life is too hard to bear:

'Yeah, I say, and he give me a lynched daddy, a crazy mama, a lowdown dog of a step pa and a sister I probably won't ever see again. Anyhow, I say, the God I been praying and writing to is a man. And act just like all the other mens I know. Trifling, forgetful and lowdown'[26]

Celie's trust and faith in men transfers onto her faith in God, she can no longer separate the two and her religion is damaged. However, once we are introduced to the character of Shug, a woman who has experienced more of life, Celie is able to begin to look at life differently because she is able to relate to another woman. Although Shug is in a socially better position than Celie, the notion of womanhood in the South allows them to become close friends as the 'South has in abundance [...] speech, traditions, codes, a shared history that gives southern writers a richly concrete world.'[27] Walker, through Celie's dialect is able to tie the reader into a certain view of the South that her protagonist has to inhabit. Through Celie we observe a rural yet patriarchal South, where the chattel nature of marriage has left her an uneducated woman with few choices. Her submissive attitude is therefore a product of her environment and the labour she has to undergo to merely survive as she [example]. Through the imagery and discourse with other characters, Walker allows the reader to piece together their own version of the South. By describing the labour she has to do around the house as being 'out in the field all day' being 'roasted [to] coffee bean color,'[28] Walker is able to illustrate a simple Southern life for the African Americans, but conversely the luxury of the North shines bright in Celie as Walker describes New York as a beautiful city [where] coloured own a whole section of it, called Harlem. There are coloured people in more fancy motor cars than I thought existed.'[29] The monetary differences of the North and South here portray the former as the more economically progressive part of America and therefore, Celie, in her letters shows admiration for all those associated with it. Shug, who has performed all over America, inspires Celie to better herself in terms of her appearance, thought and actions and in turn these changes are reflected in Walker's portrayal of the South.

Celie's experiences with the male from the outset of the novel, produces distrust and loathing for the sex. From the explicit descriptions of spousal abuse, Walker illustrates how frequent yet common it was for a black woman in the South to be subject to such violence in the home and from Celie's thoughts and actions we learn that it was widely accepted as she tells us that Mr.____ warns her that she 'better shut up and git used to it. But I don't never git used to it.'[30] This form of acceptance is highlighted by Walkers description of the marriage between Mr. ____'s son Harpo, who is advised by his father to adopt this method of abuse to control his wife when he says, '[w]ell how you spect to make her mind? Wives is like children. You have to let 'em know who got the upper hand. Nothing can do that better than a good sound beating.'[31] Walker demonstrates the power of the male in the domestic home as well as society in the South, and from this Celie's faith in her religion falters. We learn from her letters that her vision of God mirrors that of the image of power in the Southern society, a white male, of whom she believes no longer listens, nor answers her prayers. This distrust in the white male indicates a change in Celie's way of thinking which Walker confirms by the introduction of Shug Avery, whose views on God reflects her liberal character. As a black woman in the South, Shug is empowered through her ability to not view men as solely the enemy but as something to be enjoyed:

'Man corrupt everything, say Shug. He on your box of grits in your head, and all over the radio. He try to make you think he everywhere. Soon as you think he everywhere, you think he God. But he ain't. Whenever you trying to pray, and man plop himself on the other end of it, tell him to git lost, say Shug. Conjure up flowers, wind, water, a big rock. But this hard work, let me tell you. He been there so long, he don't want to budge. He threaten lightening, floods and earth-quakes. Us fight. I hardly pray at all. Every time I conjure up a rock, I throw it.'[32]

In contrast to Celie, Shug's view on men is far less narrow although this is due to her social status. Walker is clear to show the reader that Shug has more choices available due to her appearance and talents as a singer. Walker frequently comments that Shug 'looks like a real good time'[33] and uses the theme of appearance in her portrayal of the South. Shug advises Celie to not view God as the white man society has given her, but rather to view God as a free entity, and to enjoy all that has been made. However, through Celie's doubts about Shug's advise, the reader is able to see the effects of the preconditioned mind in the South as Celie admits that while both herself and Shug 'talk and talk about God, [she is] still adrift' because '[t]rying to chase that old white man out of my head. I been so busy thinking bout him I never truly notice nothing God make. Not a blade of corn (how it do that?) not the color purple (where it come from?).'[34] Through Celie, Walker is able to focus on the pleasantries of the South, as although the North mirrors that of an economic power house, in contrast, the South is able to see the beauty in the natural such as the blades of corn and colours of the flowers. Through Shug, Walker presents the reader with a way of surviving in the South, by simply reimagining her oppressors rather than acting hostile towards them by commenting that '[n]ot being tied to what God looks like, frees us.' Shug therefore recreates the pain and distress of the South for a woman, into the love she feels for Celie, and de facto the love and respect she feels for both herself and the world around her.

From the texts by authors such as Jacobs, Ellison and Walker we can argue that the treatment of the South is mainly due to the unique Southern experience and culture. 'The South' as a term in itself can apply not just to the southern states, but the mentality and culture of those who dwell there. Included in this ideology are the customs and cultures of the South that have been formed from the diversity of the population, and due to personal experiences the authors in their novels treat the South they way it has either treated or appeared to them. There is a distinct difference in the male African American writers to their female counterparts in their portrayal of the South in that for women, the South is a place of both racial and sexual oppression but also one that embraces the idea of family and community. Joseph M. Flora suggests that '[t]he purposes that African American folk culture serves in southern literature and life are as rich and varied as it characteristic form,'[35] which suggests that it is the culture of the South that authors of African American literature pick up on, for indeed the African American culture began in the Southern states. For Ellison in Invisible Man, the treatment of the South is interlaced with the notion of the struggle for power, and in such characters as Dr. Bledsoe who is in the position of power this is made clear when he says 'If there weren't men like me running schools like this, there'd be no South. Nor North, either. No, and there'd be no country - not as it is today [...]. You're a black educated fool.'[36] Ellison focuses on the manipulation of power and how as African Americans, it can be gained. From the observation of an outsider such as Mr Norton, the South represents both a plea for help and the progress of America as a whole. When asked, Mr Norton answers that his interest in the college for Negroes stems "[o]ut of a sense of my destined role, [...] I felt, and I still feel, that your people are in some important manner tied to my destiny.'[37] Although the South differs in identity to the rest of America, it is none the less recognised as part of it and therefore for Ellison, the idea of being invisible mirrors that of the South because for his protagonist once he leaves the South to pursue a life in North, he quickly comes to the reality that whilst the South may be recognised, the African Americans who aided in shaping it are not.

In lieu of the South being viewed by an outsider, we can discuss the way in which the South appeared to the slave. Through Jacob's narrative the idea of the North as a safe haven to the slave is presented as false; the South therefore gleams in comparison. In a section titled 'What Slaves Are Taught to Think of the North' the author talks heavily about the hypocritical nature of slave owners who besmirch the North in order to prevent slaves from escaping but what is important is her view on the inferiority of the black man. Jacobs presents to the reader a South where the African American man has no say as to how can be perceived, for in her narrative he is only ever a slave. In this light I return to my previous notion of the South as a prison and for Jacobs this certainly proves true when she asks the reader, 'Do you think [...] the black man to belong to an inferior order of beings? What would you be, if you had been born and brought up a slave, with generations of slaves for ancestors? I admit that the black man is inferior. But what makes him so?'[38] Jacobs represents the South the way the South has treated its inhabitants, and in her narrative African Americans are treated as inferior.

The treatment of the South in African American literature is influenced by not only the authors experience but of the history and culture deeply entrenched in the southern states. The ways in which the texts of Elliot, Jacobs and Walker present the South reflect the personal insight into the South that the authors have perceived. Whilst as readers we may comment that this treatment of the South is therefore bias, we cannot disregard that the 'collective history of African Americans in the South keep alive their legacy of survival.'[39] From the texts discussed in this essay, a conclusion on the treatment of the South in African American literature cannot be honed into one observation. On the contrary, the South as a term, place, or thought depicts various memories and connotations to those that have been affected by it. Moreover, the South is deeply entrenched in the history of African Americans and therefore a universal trait the South embodies is the origins of the race and how it has progressed since the times of Slavery; and whilst it portrays both positive and negative stereotypes, in African American literature, the South almost always interlinks with the notion of home.

Bibliography

Chesnutt, Charles, W., The Conjure Woman, (The Riverside Press, Cambridge, 1899).

Cooper, Anna, Julia, A Voice from the South, (Oxford University Press, 1990).

Ellison, Ralph, Invisible Man, (Penguin Books, 2001).

Ezell, John, Samuel, The South Since 1865, Second Edition, (Collier Macmillan Publishers: 1975).

Flora, Joseph M., Lucinda Hardwick MacKethan, Todd W. Taylor, The Companion to Southern Literature: themes, genres, places, people, movements and motifs', (LSU Press: 2002).

Jacobs, Harriet, Incidents on the Life of a Slave Girl, ed. Nellie Y. McKay and Frances Smith Foster, (Norton & Company: 2001).

Jones, Anne, Goodwyn, Susan V. Donaldson, 'Haunted Bodies: Gender and Southern Texts', American South Series, (University Press Virginia, 1997), p. 2.

Kreyling, Michael, Inventing Southern Literature, (University Press of Mississippi, 1998).

Mackethan , Lucinda,  Hardwick, The Dream of Acardy: Place and Time in Southern Literature, (LSU Press: 1980).

Wade, John, Donald, 'What the South Figured, 1865-1914', in Selected Essays and Other Writings of John Donald Wade, (Athens, GA., 1966), p. 85.

Walker, Alice, The Color Purple, (The Women's Press, 1983).


[1] John Samuel Ezell, The South Since 1865, Second Edition, (Collier Macmillan Publishers: 1975), p. 5.

[2] Harriet Jacobs, Incidents on the Life of a Slave Girl, ed. Nellie Y. McKay and Frances Smith Foster, (Norton & Company: 2001), p. 9. 'Subsequent references are to this edition.'

[3] Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, p. 68.

[4] Joseph M. Flora, Lucinda Hardwick MacKethan, Todd W. Taylor, The Companion to Southern Literature: themes, genres, places, people, movements and motifs', (LSU Press: 2002), p. 4

[5] Alice Walker, The Color Purple, (The Women's Press: 1983), p. 5.

[6] Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, (Penguin Books: 2001), p. 23. 'Subsequent references are to this edition.'

[7] Ibid., p. 32.

[8] Ibid., p. 33.

[9] Lucinda Hardwick Mackethan, The Dream of Acardy: Place and Time in Southern Literature, (LSU Press: 1980), p. 6.

[10] John Donald Wade, 'What the South Figured, 1865-1914', in Selected Essays and Other Writings of John Donald Wade, (Athens, GA,. 1966), p. 85.

[11] Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, p. 47.

[12] Ibid., p. 48.

[13] Michael Kreyling, Inventing Southern Literature, (University Press of Mississippi: 1998), p. 18. 'Subsequent references are to this edition.'

[14] Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, p. 101.

[15] Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, p. 102.

[16] Ibid., p. 138.

[17] Ibid., p. 141.

[18] Ibid., p. 16.

[19] Ibid., p. 142.

[20] Joseph M. Flora, Lucinda Hardwick MacKethan, Todd W. Taylor, The Companion to Southern Literature: themes, genres, places, people, movements and motifs', (LSU Press, 2002), p. 556.

[21] Charles W. Chesnutt, The Conjure Woman, (The Riverside Press, Cambridge, 1899), p. 70

[22] Michael Kreyling, Inventing Southern Literature, p. 18.

[23] Anna Julia Cooper, A Voice from the South, (Oxford University Press, 1990), p. 143.

[24] Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, p. 92.

[25] Anne Goodwyn Jones, Susan V. Donaldson, 'Haunted Bodies: Gender and Southern Texts', American South Series, (University Press Virginia, 1997), p. 2.

[26] Alice Walker, The Color Purple, (Pocket: 1990), p. 175.

[27] Joseph M. Flora, Lucinda Hardwick MacKethan, Todd W. Taylor, The Companion to Southern Literature: themes, genres, places, people, movements and motifs', (LSU Press: 2002), p. 4.

[28] Alice Walker, The Color Purple, p. 27.

[29] Ibid., p. 114.

[30] Alice Walker, The Color Purple, p. 11.

[31] Ibid., p.42.

[32] Alice Walker, Color Purple, p. 179.

[33] Ibid., p. 82.

[34] Ibid., p. 168.

[35] Joseph M. Flora, Lucinda Hardwick MacKethan, Todd W. Taylor, The Companion to Southern Literature, p. 8.

[36] Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, p. 142-3.

[37] Ibid., p. 94.

[38] Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, p. 38.

[39] Joseph M. Flora, Lucinda Hardwick MacKethan, Todd W. Taylor, The Companion to Southern Literature, p. 8.

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