Re-interrogating the Theme of ‘Identity’ in Afro-American Literature

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Literature has been a powerful instrument for social change. It documents the historical attempts that people have made to reach their rightful place in destiny in the face of oppression and discrimination at different levels. The fight against forces of oppression such as race, class and gender has been a never ending process despite the loud claims of the so-called establishment of equality and justice. The greatness of man in all our history is evaluated in terms of his resoluteness and courage to question the damaging forces which perpetuate and sponsor discrimination in one form or the other. Silence is guilt where fearless speech is a basic courage. Be it Negro in the west or Dalit in the East, it is the spirit of rebellion or resistance in the face of oppression marks them distinguishable different from others. All great literatures of today invariably aim at capturing those moments of man’s continual struggle for freedom and independence while our established critical theories try to evaluate those proclaimed values Broadly speaking , Afro- American writings reflect on the experience of the oppressed people who have been victimized by the forces which are either politically motivated or socially engineered. This paper proposes to look into different dimensions of the experience of neglect, subjugation, oppression, discrimination and isolation in order to collectively conceive the basic questions involved in our understanding of human life and destiny. Also, it aims at scrutinizing different historical, cultural, socio-political, critical and generic dimensions of the terms ‘freedom’ and ‘identity’ and their relation to the context of modern India today. It is expected that a detailed analysis of the writings of Afro-Am... ... middle of paper ... ...Writers. New York: Pergamon Press, 1985. Du Bois, W.E.B. The Souls of Black Folk: The Norton Anthology of African American Literature. Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. New York: W.W.Norton & Company, 1997. 14, 613 & 711. --- --- Figures in Black: Words, Signs, and the "Racial" Self (First ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. 1987. --- ---- The Signifying Monkey (First ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. 1988. --- --- Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars (First ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. 1992. Douglas, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Oxford Paperbacks; Reissue edition, 2009. Davis, Cyntia. "Self, Society and Myth in Toni Morrison's Fiction," Contemporary Literature, 23, 3 .Summer 1982. 337. Fannon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. Trans. Constance Farrington. London. Penguin Books, 1990.
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