FEMALE IDENTITY AND MAGICAL REALISM IN NATIVE AMERICAN AND AFRO AMERICAN WOMEN WRITING: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF LOUISE ERDRICH’S TRACKS AND TONY MORRISON’S BELOVED

Mumtaz Ahmad
Kaneez Fatima

DOI: 10.19085/journal.sijmas041102

Abstract


This research article is an attempt to evaluate the Native and Afro American women writers ‘sustained efforts to articulate a continuous and internal cultural female identity by constructing re evaluative narratives that deconstruct institutionally supported universal female images inflicted upon the third and fourth world women by the first world feminist intelligentsia. To do so these women writers radically depart from the conventions of Euro American stylistic, formal and structural modalities of the narrative and use instead a stylistic mosaic allowing the native and black oral traditions to imbricate with the white normative models. Since literature and arts have always been an effective medium, an expansive domain, and a discursive field where writers have been voicing the aureate human feelings, conflicting passions and the continuous struggles of the different societal segments, especially of deprived strata against those who maintain and perpetuate their cultural and political hegemony by suppressing the subalterns, the  women writers from the fourth world ethnic communities have expressed whole range of the intensely personal and communal human emotions that radiate from the springboard  of social, cultural, historic and political practices One of the significant features that the Native American and Afro American women writers often demonstrate include the use of magical realist strategies that express, on one hand, their efforts to indigenize narrative and, on the other hand, help them construct female identity from their own perspective since, within main concerns of contemporary fourth world feminist criticism, the (re) construction of female identity merits special attention and analysis. The stereotypical discursive construction of the Native and Afro American women by the dominant Euro American discourses bracketed them into essentialist categories glossing over the medley of vital differences that these women reveal in their social, cultural, anthropological and sexual strictures. Tackling the issue of the discursive construction of female identity that involves conceptual and perspectival problems, both Native American and Afro American women writers deconstruct the sweeping generalization of the fourth world women by challenging and subverting the clichéd images replacing them with empowered and agentive subjects who are no more subjected to, what Gyatri Spivk conceptualizes,   subalternity and “epistemic violence”.


Keywords


Female identity; magical realism; Native American and Afro American women; Louse Erdrich’s Tracks and Tony Morrison’s Beloved

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