Anne, the White Woman in Contemporary African-American Fiction: Archetypes, Stereotypes, and Characterizations

Anne, the White Woman in Contemporary African-American Fiction: Archetypes, Stereotypes, and Characterizations

Anne, the White Woman in Contemporary African-American Fiction: Archetypes, Stereotypes, and Characterizations

Anne, the White Woman in Contemporary African-American Fiction: Archetypes, Stereotypes, and Characterizations

Synopsis

This work combines Jungian analysis with certain West African religious principles in an examination of fictional characterizations of white women in African-American literature. Taking neither a purely African nor Western approach to the material, the author offers analyses of white women as the terrible mother, the bitch goddess, the seductress, the initiator, the femme fatale, the benevolent witch, and the confidant. Both the particular stereotypes of white women and their mythic roles are explored, in terms of both social and mythical archetypes.

Excerpt

In European and African myth, the death figure responsible for despair is inextricably joined to the Mother and giver of life. The orisha of the sea, Yemoja, is the mother of Mothers and queen of the Witches. Like the Indo-European Kali, she is associated with death and the subsequent rebirth out of the abysmal sea. Instead of turning against her as a symbol of slave ships, Africans in the New World remembered Yemoja as a symbol of the return to the land across the ocean. Like Kali, she is "the Ferry Across the Ocean of Existence." Life is a feminine deity and her counterpart is death. In Nigeria, Yoruba Gelede ceremonies celebrate the Mothers--the origin of everything--and appease their aje (negative aspect) in order to call forth their blessings.

In Haiti, the ritual reclamation of the deceased spirit from the land beneath the waters of the abyss is known as the third birth of man. First, individuals enter the physical world as little more than animals. Through initiation, individuals become fully human. When they die, individuals are lost to the physical world. Through the ceremony of retirer d'en bas de l'eau, the soul that "was lost to the visible world is brought back into it once more." After generations, this ancestor may undergo a final transfiguration and emerge as a loa. Through temporary possession of a living host, the loa becomes an active participant in the community. "The power of the loa to become manifest in living matter marks their final mastery over matter." Every individual partakes of this cycle of birth, initiation, death and rebirth. Instead of rejecting despair and death, African-American . . .

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