Motherlove in Shades of Black

The Maternal Psyche in the Novels of African American Women


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About the Book

This book closely examines the mother figure in six works by African American women at various times in American history: Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Pauline Hopkins’s Contending Forces, Nella Larsen’s Passing, Gwendolyn Brooks’s Maud Martha, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved. It studies how the mother in each novel negotiates the ragged, hostile landscape of a prohibitive environment to love, protect, and raise her children. Delving far deeper than surface explanations, it is informed by psychological analysis to reveal the forces that create the unique tensions of the African American mother’s life, her inspired strategies for survival, and the character of the nurturing she gives her children.

About the Author(s)

A former professor at Michigan State University, Gloria Thomas Pillow is a freelance editor who has previously published articles in literary criticism. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

Bibliographic Details

Gloria Thomas Pillow
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 199
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3533-3
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5640-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Foreword by Geneva Smitherman      1
Introduction      3

1. Linda Brent: Through a Glass, Darkly      9
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
2. Sappho Clark: Double Exposure      36
Contending Forces
3. Irene Redfield: Smoke and Mirrors      63
4. Maud Martha: Gray, Lined in Silver      87
Maud Martha
5. Celie: Emergent Light      111
The Color Purple
6. Sethe: Beyond the Pale      138

Chapter Notes      169
Bibliography      177
Index      187