Male Absence And Single Parenthood In Black Writing: A Study Of Richard Wright’s Black Boy, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, And Lauretta Ngcobo’s Cross Of Gold

Project and Seminar Material for English Language

Male Absence And Single Parenthood In Black Writing: A Study Of Richard Wright’s Black Boy, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, And Lauretta Ngcobo’s Cross Of Gold


Abstract


This study employs Realism as an analytical tool to assess the various dimensions of male absence and single parenthood in Richard Wright‟s Black Boy (1945), Toni Morrison‟s Beloved (1987) and Lauretta Ngcobo‟s Cross of Gold (1981). This research is thus a comparative study of male absence and single parenthood in Black writing in the United States and South Africa. The study posits that the spread of male absence and single parenthood (female-headed homes) among African Americans and Black South Africans are not unconnected with the socio-historical events experienced in the United States and South Africa respectively. Whereas African American men are generally considered and presented as deliberate deserters due to their inability to handle their sole provider responsibility, male absence and single parenthood among Black South Africans largely results from men‟s response to familial needs which usually takes them to the mines in urban areas as well as other governmental policies basically designed to blow especially black families into fragments.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 General Introduction

This research examines, from a comparative perspective, the preoccupation, through the novel genre, of three Black writers: Richard Wright, Toni Morrison and Lauretta Ngcobo with male absence and single parenthood in Black families. The study establishes the relationship between male absence and single parenthood from the perspective of single parenthood or female-headed household as a byproduct of male absence. The study also shows how the various deployments of male absence and single parenthood signify an exploration of a typical and universal human experience by the three writers. The study adopts realism as a theoretical tool to assess the life-like dimension to the subject matter in the texts under preview.

The terms Blacks or Black people are used in systems of racial classification for humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups. However, in both the United States and South Africa, the racial classification also refers to people with all possible kinds of skin pigmentation from the darkest through to the very light skin colours, including albinos, if they are believed by others to have African ancestry and exhibit cultural traits associated with being ―African-American‖ (Westminster, 2011). The people of African and West Indian origin, with dark skin are equally classified under similar umbrella words – Blacks or Black people (Kankan, 2009).


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