Gendered Selves Reconstruction in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Blossom Shimayam Ottoh-Agede


Research in diverse fields as anthropology, linguistics, psychology, sociology, history, literature, gender studies, andsocial theory, among others, has firmly established the fundamental role of society in the formation andestablishment of gender identity, but fails to indicate the causative roles of individuals in constructing gender andself identity. Most gender scholars avoid the simple truth that gender roles are more of self ascription than societal.The society is not a person but persons who come together with a common language and culture. This paper exploresthe creation of self and gender identity in Alice Walker’s The color purple and Maya Angelou’s I know why thecaged bird sings. The investigation pictures the ways Walker and Angelou negotiate, manipulate and reconstruct theBlack-female identity. We discover that Walker and Angelou espouse a feminist and xenophobic approach torepresent the female-story by portraying first, a treble victimization and then the subsequent victory of theirBlack-American female protagonists. The study attempts to show how their deployment of linguistic propertiescommunicates the female self in a Black-American community and concludes that individuals are the architects oftheir lives. We adopt the [Feminist] Standpoint and Social Identity theories for analysis of texts.

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World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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