Gender, Gender And Social Position For African American Women

1354 Words Sep 25th, 2015 6 Pages
Empowerment; the process in which a person makes themselves more stronger, confident and capable of controlling their own life. During the long history of marginalisation, patriarchal oppression, colonisation and the deep psychological damage of being demeaned, the road to empowerment for African American women has been fraught with a multitude of internalised negativity firstly regarding being an African American and secondly a woman.
On one hand, a deeper desire for survival (both negative and otherwise) can be observed in Beloved and Push within female characters such as Sethe, Beloved and Precious in which they grasp at what is left of their womanhood. On the other, a naturalistic approach is taken by some characters- no matter how hard they try, their race, gender and social position deems them ‘mentally crippled’. This essay will explore the ways in which the female characters in both novels, although centuries apart, assume the role of a ‘pheonix’ figure- rising from the ‘ashes’ of their situation or are stuck in a psychological rut of being unable to empower themselves.

“The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world”(William Wallace) summarises the significance of motherhood-a woman who nurtures her child has the same extent of strength as a world ruler. However, the kinship between mother and offspring is not so straightforward when regarding the maternal figures in Push and Beloved. Mary Jones, the main antagonist, highlights the stereotype…
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