Black Professional Women in Recent American Fiction
The last three decades of the 20th century have marked the triumph of many black professional women against great odds in the workplace. Despite their success, few novels celebrate their accomplishments. Black middle-class professional women want to see themselves realistically portrayed by protagonists who work to achieve significant productivity and visibility in their careers, desire stability in their personal lives, aspire to accrue wealth, and live elegantly though not consumptively. The author contends that most recent American realistic fiction fails to represent black professional women protagonists performing their work effectively in the workplace. Identifying the extent to which contemporary novels satisfy the “readerly desires” of black middle-class women readers, this book investigates why the readership wants the texts, as well as what they prefer in the books they buy. It also examines the technical and cultural factors that contribute to the lack of books with self-empowered black professional female protagonists, and considers The Salt Eaters by Toni Cade Bambara and Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan, two novels that function as significant markers in the development of contemporary black women writers’ texts.
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One Consumer Desire for SelfEmpowered Black Professional Women Protagonists
Craft and Culture Challenges to Black Professional Womens Representation
Production and Market Social Challenges
Feminism and Nationalism Conflicts in The Salt Eaters
Rethinking Agency in Waiting to Exhale
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African American African American Literature Alice Walker allows argues autonomy Bambara Bambara’s The Salt Bebe Moore Bebe Moore Campbell become behavior Bernadine black career women black community black female black male black professional women black women readers black women writers Civil Rights classism contemporary corporate America create critics critique di›erent di‡culty discussion e›ect e›orts economic Edmondson Bell experience fessional fiction gender girls Gloria Ibid issue level of agency literary literature lives mainstream Maslow middle-class narratives needs novelists novels o›ers Obie one’s oppression percent popular culture portrayals position problems profes professional protagonist protagonists publishers racism readership reflect represent the black representation respondents Robin Salt Eaters Savannah self-actualized self-empowerment sexism sexual Sisters social Stella stereotypes success survey tagonists Terry McMillan tion Toni Cade Bambara’s Toni Morrison Velma Velma Henry Waiting to Exhale white women woman Words of Fire workplace York
Page 9 - Black Art is the aesthetic and spiritual sister of the Black Power concept. As such, it envisions an art that speaks directly to the needs and aspirations of Black America. In order to perform this task, the Black Arts Movement proposes a radical reordering of the western cultural aesthetic. It proposes a separate symbolism, mythology, critique, and iconology.
Page 6 - We know now that you were not an idiot or a traitor; only a sickly little black girl, snatched from your home and country and made a slave; a woman who still struggled to sing the song that was your gift, although in a land of barbarians who praised you for your bewildered tongue. It is not so much what you sang, as that you kept alive, in so many of our ancestors, the notion of song. Black women are called, in the folklore that so aptly identifies one's status in society, "the mule of the world,"...
Page 10 - Heart of Woman" in her stories. What particularly distinguishes Alice Walker in her role as apologist l8 and chronicler for black women is her evolutionary treatment of black women; that is, she sees the experiences of black women as a series of movements from women totally victimized by society and by the men in their lives to the growing developing women whose consciousness allows them to have control over their lives. In historical terms the women of the first cycle belong to the eighteenth and...