An exploration of African-American masculinity through beloved, the color purple and their eyes were watching God
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African-American identity is implanted in the history of slavery and their position as slaves in America. This history creates a complex identity for African-American men that need to be examined. There are diverse phases of masculinity from slavery to post-slavery. This slavery gives contradictory views around the meaning of African-American masculinity. There are two contrasting picture that exists regarding this issue; on one hand African-American men are being thought as violent and sexually promiscuous and on the other hand they are considered as irresponsible and incapable to be bread earner. This dissertation attempts to examine the representation of African-American men and their masculinity in the writing of, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. Through this thesis, I want to move away from this stereotypical picture by taking the benefits of these three novels. In this paper, I am going to explore the meaning of this African-American masculinity during the time of slavery and post-slavery and it is also an attempt to show how these female authors have viewed and portrayed African men through their writings. These three novels together give a new and diverse picture of masculinity. The analysis of the arguments about African-American men and their relationship with women and with other men in family and community require the assistance of theories such as patriarchy, masculinity in general and African-American masculinity in particular. Apart from these texts as primary sources, journals, articles and other reference books are going to be used as secondary sources.