Language and Literature in the African American Imagination

By Carol Aisha Blackshire-Belay | Go to book overview

14
The African American Imagination
in Language and Literature:
An Afterword

Carol Aisha Blackshire-Belay

The preceding chapters have been devoted to theoretical aspects of African American language and literature. In this chapter I shall briefly comment on these discussions, and evaluate their contribution to redefining the dialogue and theoretical debates surrounding the maturing imagination of African American peoples.

In PART 1, "The Afrocentric Imagination: Theory and Analysis," four papers are presented. In Chapter One, the introductory chapter, the aim is to introduce the audience to the content of the volume. I have also sought to highlight some of the more relevant aspects contributing to the growing appreciation of African American literature. This chapter telegraphs the work to be done in literary analysis, theory development, and the influence of such factors as migration on the African American language community.

In Chapter Two, Molefi Asante in "Locating a Text: Implications of an Afrocentric Theory" discusses the need for an Afrocentric viewpoint on texts. In situating a text one must be aware of two important realities: location and dislocation of a text. Understanding both the Eurocentric and Afrocentric perspectives allows us to approach any and every form of discourse from an enlightened and multi-cultural point of view. In locating a text, there are several elements that help to assist the reader in his/her analysis: language, attitude, and direction. Based on these, Asante discusses the theoretical issues and moves into a personal examination of location in the works of Henry Dumas.

In Chapter Three, Frenzella Elaine De Lancey in "Refusing to Be Boxed In: Sonia Sanchez's Transformation of the Haiku Form" discusses Sonia Sachez's use of Afrocentric motifs to textualize the haiku. While she acknowledges that the haiku form is important for establishing disci-

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