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By Amy K. Levin

Africanism and Authenticity lines the continued impression of West African women's traditions and societies on late-twentieth-century literature via African-American ladies. the 1st 1/2 the ebook specializes in how those affects permeate either topic and imagery in novels by means of Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Jamaica Kincaid, and Gloria Naylor. the second one part specializes in fresh neo-slave narratives as works that sprang from the African event instead of works that only 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 learn is the 1st to concentration so explicitly at the significance of West African women's traditions in modern writing by way of African-American ladies. Levin demanding situations feminist reports of those writings by way of revealing the level to which these stories stay Eurocentric, at the same time they query Afrocentric readings that draw basically on African male traditions as though they have been kind of like women's practices. In addressing those concerns, Africanism and Authenticity is helping to refine the present dialogue of literary authenticity and records a particular culture that

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Baker, an antagonist in The Women of Brewster Place, kills his brother on orders from a drug lord known as the Man and thanks “God for giving him the courage to . . be a man” (129). In contrast, Brother Jerome, named after the Biblical scholar, may be developmentally impaired, but he is able to make his “piano tell any story that he wanted. And it was your story if you listened real hard” (32). Where males are oppressed by normative white definitions of manhood, Jerome offers a hope and an irony—that the truth comes not from God, as father, or his representatives (Moreland Woods and the minister at the funeral) but from a perpetual child, one who communicates nonverbally.

Ruby’s energy is reflected in the disorder with which she is associated, while her power is apparent in the fact that Mama Day herself fears Ruby’s spells. Ruby’s manner of placing a curse on Cocoa alludes to West African traditions, for she braids Cocoa’s hair into an elaborate style. As she does so, she rubs Cocoa’s scalp with a poisoned pomade. Cocoa, who has been Metaphor and Maternity in Mama Day 39 away from the island and is not initiated into its secrets, cannot read Ruby’s intentions, and this ignorance leads to disaster.

Meshing smoothly with systems of race, class, and gender oppression” (78). 3 Other critics refer even more explicitly to African traditions. Sharon Holland’s “Bakulu Discourse: The Language of the Margin in Toni Morrison’s Beloved,” suggests that the ghost in Morrison’s novel is an “African retention” (92), linked to the Yoruba river goddess Osun. Likewise, 20 Africanism and Authenticity Carole Boyce Davies refers to the Yoruba abiku, children who die young and return to trouble their mothers (3, 55).

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