Domestic Abuse in the Novels of African American Women

A Critical Study


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About the Book

The literary tradition begun by Zora Neale Hurston in the 1930s has since flourished and taken new directions with a diverse body of fiction by more contemporary African-American women writers. This book examines the treatment of domestic violence in Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Gayl Jones’s Corregidora, Gloria Naylor’s The Women of Brewster Place and Linden Hills, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Love, Terry McMillan’s Mama and A Day Late and a Dollar Short, and Octavia Butler’s Seed to Harvest. These novels have given voice to oppressed and abused women.
The aims of this work are threefold: to examine how female African American novelists portray domestic abuse; to outline how literary depictions of domestic violence are responsive to cultural and historical forces; and to explore the literary tradition of novels that deal with domestic abuse within the African American community.

About the Author(s)

Heather Duerre Humann teaches in the Department of Language and Literature at Florida Gulf Coast University. She is the author of multiple books and has contributed essays to edited collections and published articles, reviews and short stories in African American Review, Women’s Studies, South Atlantic Review and Studies in American Culture.

Bibliographic Details

Heather Duerre Humann
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 188
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7956-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1641-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introduction. What’s Love Got to Do with It? 1
Chapter 1. Silence and Reclamation: Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God 19
Chapter 2. Dysfunctional Domesticity: Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye 39
Chapter 3. Transformation and Testimony: Gayl Jones’ Corregidora 51
Chapter 4. Voicing Violence: Alice Walker’s The Color Purple 61
Chapter 5. Violent Spaces: Gloria Naylor’s The Women of Brewster Place and Linden Hills 77
Chapter 6. Family Violence and Popular Fiction: Terry McMillan’s Mama and A Day Late and a Dollar Short 99
Chapter 7. Family and the Legacy of Violence: Toni Morrison’s Love 121
Chapter 8. Domestic Violence through a Science Fiction Lens: Octavia Butler’s Seed to Harvest 135
Conclusion 165
Works Cited 169
Index 177