Black Family (Dys)Function in Novels by Jessie Fauset, Nella by Licia Morrow Calloway

By Licia Morrow Calloway

Through the Harlem Renaissance, competing rhetorics of racial uplift headquartered upon issues relating to type identity and the method of acculturation into American society. This e-book demonstrates how the perform of motherhood and the association of family relatives operated to deal with the urgent concerns dealing with the black group of the early 20th century. An exploration of such literary constructs because the tragic mulatto, the passing phenomenon, and the mammy bring about a revitalized realizing of the way the affects of racial intolerance, sexual oppression, and sophistication ideology mixed to impress a version of resistant black maternity within the early smooth period.

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Additional info for Black Family (Dys)Function in Novels by Jessie Fauset, Nella Larson, & Fannie Hurst (Modern American Literature (New York, N.Y.), Vol. 27.)

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Fittingly, Joanna becomes a celebrated vocalist whose performances seem to be most inspired when she appears before a humble gath- P Revising the Victorian Maternal Ideal 43 ering of her own race in some tiny rural church. In such a venue, the narrator confides, Joanna develops an instantaneous, wordless rapport with her auditors that gently soothes, reassures, and encourages them: “I am no better than you. You are no worse than I. Whatever I am, you, in your children, may be. Whatever you are, I in my father have been” (131).

Du Bois, and position on the editorial staff of Crisis magazine translated into a spot on the fringe of New York’s elite, but many of her younger Renaissance contemporaries considered her manner an affectation. Neither were they particularly enthused about Nella Larsen. Larsen’s perpetual evasiveness regarding her family background was symptomatic of her self-consciousness about her lack of pedigree in a social order where ancestral origins were so crucial to acceptance. The daughter of a racially ambiguous, working-class Chicago couple, she was estranged from her family because her complexion made her own African ancestry unmistakable.

Rather, Essie’s preoccupation with Myrtle’s problems and the distracted response she receives from Joanna when she confides in her (“Yes, yes, I know. White people are hard to get along with. Better times coming, I hope, Essie” [224]), illustrate the difficulty faced by female household servants whose lives are so consumed by the needs of their employers, they have little time to devote to the needs of their own families. Historically, domestic work was forced upon them because their husbands did not earn enough to support their families alone, and there were few alternatives open to black women in search of employment, especially after World War I.

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