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Title:The Picaresque in Six Afro-American Novels
Author(s):Muirhead, Pamela Buchanan
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, American
Abstract:The form, characterization, narration, and subjects of Blake or The Huts of America, Home to Harlem, Native Son, Invisible Man, Quicksand, and Their Eyes Were Watching God are distinctly picaresque. The genre continues a tradition begun with the trickster tales of Africa (Anansi, the Spider and others), then transformed by Blacks in the American South into stories of the exploits of Brer Rabbit (Aunt Nancy), Slave John, and eventually, particularly in urban areas, the "Bad Nigger." Certain traditions of Afro-American literature and culture coincide with some characteristics of the picaresque: flights from slavery and the Great Migration; "masking"; a marginal economic and social status; satire at the expense of masters; victimization; the outsider-victim as hero; the manipulation of language; the primacy of community; exclusion as a threat to emotional wholeness and an opportunity for individuality. The Black picara is excluded by means of her sex as well as her race and more subject to sexual victimization than the male, and thereby more constrained in the scope and shape of her adventures. The Afro-American picaresque tradition departs from the European tradition in its insistence on failure as a realistic outcome of the journey.
Issue Date:1981
Description:145 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1981.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8127653
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-12
Date Deposited:1981

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