Africanism and Authenticity in African-American Women's by Amy K. Levin

By Amy K. Levin

Africanism and Authenticity lines the ongoing effect of West African women's traditions and societies on late-twentieth-century literature by means of African-American girls. the 1st 1/2 the publication specializes in how those affects permeate either topic and imagery in novels by way of Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Jamaica Kincaid, and Gloria Naylor. the second one part specializes in contemporary neo-slave narratives as works that sprang from the African event instead of works that basically 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 value of West African women's traditions in modern writing through African-American girls. Levin demanding situations feminist stories of those writings by way of revealing the level to which these reviews stay Eurocentric, whilst they query Afrocentric readings that draw simply on African male traditions as though they have been kind of like women's practices. In addressing those matters, Africanism and Authenticity is helping to refine the present dialogue of literary authenticity and records a particular culture that

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At the same time, she explains, women’s organizations and other traditional structures empower women, giving them support and some measure of control over their lives (214–15). Christian describes these exclusively female organizations, or secret societies, as sisterhoods that “buttress” (215) women, providing friendship and the aid of peers. Yet these closed societies are also strongly hierarchical in their structure, repeating the ranking of women within families, from senior wives down to junior wives.

Within the community, she has occupied a position of leadership. Her authority, like that of the Sowei, has various sources. First, she is associated with birth and fertility in a number of ways. As midwife, she has assisted at the births of most of the children on the island, having “Caught babies till it was too late to have my own” (89). Mama Day also possesses the secrets to enable other women to become fertile; when young Bernice Duvall fails to conceive, Mama Day works with her until she is pregnant.

All of this wasted effort when these were my hands, and there was no way I was going to let you [Cocoa] go” (301). Unwittingly, George stumbles on the truth—that Mama Day wants him to offer all he has, to relinquish Cocoa. The hen valiantly pecks away at this intruder in her realm, defending Mama Day’s territory by attacking George. Her behavior is consistent with Sande iconography in several ways. Most obviously, she protects her owner and the community. Secondly, both Ruby (because of her name) and the rust-colored hen are associated with the color red.

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