Hybrid Marginality, Intercultural Bonding and Reconstruction of Black Motherhood in Alice Walker’s Meridian

Document Type: Original Article

Author

Assistant Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, University of Mazandaran

Abstract

Over the past few decades, African American feminist writers have tried to highlight black women’s double marginalization in the United States and show how they are subalternized by both racist white society and sexist black community. The African American woman is traditionally confined to the domestic roles of a devoted wife and mother, thus required by the totalitarian patriarchal discourse to sacrifice her subjectivity for her husband and children. In her novel Meridian (1976), Alice Walker analyzes the marginality of women in the black community, noting how even a revolutionary movement like the Black Power embraced misogynist norms and demoted women to the status of the so-called second sex. Despite all obstacles, Walker’s eponymous character, initially battered down by the weight of demeaning stereotypes, finally manages to save her selfhood by transcending the restrictive gender and racial demarcations and fashion a new independent identity. This paper tries to demonstrate how Meridian uses his marginal hybridity as a black woman to form emancipatory ties with other subalternized cultures, most notably that of Native Americans, borrow their discursive practices and ultimately disentangle herself from the fixating shackles of racism and sexism.

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