Many minority authors write about an individual's search for self which culminates in the realization of personal freedom. This has been an important theme in African-American literature beginning with the slave narratives to modern poetry and prose. The concept of freedom has a myriad of meanings which encompasses national political liberty to an individual's own personal freedom. Personal freedom is the ability to ignore societal and familial influences to find the true sense of self. Individuals are truly liberated when they are physically, mentally, and spiritually free. Sense of self is the enlightenment we possess when we psychologically realize and accept our true qualities and limitations. Attaining personal freedom is not a simple affair. It is a lifelong journey which is tedious and demanding with obstacles and setbacks which must be conquered. The search for personal freedom is exemplified in the following three novels, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs, Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, and Push by Sapphire. The main protagonists, Linda Brent, Milkman and Precious, respectively, achieve personal freedom through attainment of knowledge, by confronting their families, and by overcoming the prejudices of society. Moreover, although the search for personal freedom is an individual journey, it cannot be achieved without assistance.
Knowledge is a primary factor in the attainment of personal freedom. This includes not only scholarly education but also awareness of historical heritage and familial legacy. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., in his introduction to The Classic Slave Narrativ...
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...Carmean, Karen, Toni Morrison's World of Fiction, Troy: The Whitston Publishing Company, 1993.
Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself. 1861. The Classic Slave Narratives. Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.. New York: Mentor, 1987. 332-515.
Morrison, Toni. Song of Solomon. New York: Plume,
Peach, Norman. Modern Novelists Toni Morrison. Ed. Norman Page. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995.
Sapphire. Push. New York: Vintage Contemporaries, 1996.
Storhoff, Gary. "'Anaconda Love': Parental Enmeshment in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon." Style 31 No. 2 (Summer 1997). 290-309. September 18, 2001 <http.//p26688.cl.uh.edu:2071/cgi-bin/web>.
Willbern, David. "Reading After Freud." Ed. G. Douglas Atkins and Laura Morrow. Contemporary Literary Theory. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1989. 158-179.
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