African American Humour and the Construction of a Mature Female Middle-Class Identity in Clarence Major’s Such Was the Season
Older black women have historically been portrayed as the matriarch or the Black Mammy and featured in stereotypical roles to assist white families within mainstream US visual culture. In literary fiction, African American painter and writer Clarence Major utilises African American speech acts and humour as key elements of his narrative to negotiate the mature identity of his 60+-year-old protagonist, Annie Eliza, in his relatively unknown novel Such Was the Season. As part of the African American canon of the late twentieth century, I argue that Major seeks to document the experiences of ageing black women in fictional literature and to establish their lives and experiences as legitimate themes for mainstream audiences.
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