Analysis Of Sapphire Along The Spectrum Of The Slave Narrative And The Neoslave Narrative
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This essay attempts to position Push by Sapphire along the spectrum of the slave narrative and the neoslave narrative in terms of African American literary tradition. It focuses on Precious’s parental abuse, neglect, sexual assault and journey to literacy. It will attempt to draw out similarities between this character’s abuse and the violent history of slavery. It will use the slave and neoslave narratives in Push to connect contemporary issues in black society, such as rape, labour, illiteracy and fatherlessness, to the trauma of slavery and show also the possibility for escaping such a tradition and moving beyond the destruction of female, black identity.
The narrative of Push utilises a number of stylistic devices that make it one of the most intriguing African American novels in recent years. The use of poetry, the Harlem black vernacular, letters, drawings and journal entries all come together to present a highly stylised and more comprehensive understanding of Precious as a character. These devices, as well as other elements of formal design and thematic content in Push offer a refreshing new take on the most traditional type of African American literature, the slave narrative. It is an interesting addition, too, to the neoslave narrative genre, which grew out of the antebellum era and focused more on the de facto oppression of the black community, and the parallels those stories drew with slave narratives.
In his essay “I Was Born”: Slave Narratives, Their Status as