Date of Award

4-22-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Renee Schatteman - Co-Chair

Abstract

This study analyzes female friendship in four novels written by black diasporic women and examines the impact of race, class and gender on women’s relationships. The novels emphasize how women face the challenges of patriarchal institutions and other attempts to subjugate then through polygamy, neo-colonialism, constraints of tradition, caste prejudice, political instability and the Biafra war. This dissertation uses characterization and plot analysis to explore the different stories and messages the novels portray. As findings this study foregrounds the healing powers of female bonding, which allows women to overcome prejudice and survive, to enjoy female empowerment, and to extend female friendship into female solidarity that participates in nation building. However, another conclusion focuses on the power of patriarchy which constitutes a threat to female bonding and usually causes women’s estrangement.

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