Date of Award

Summer 8-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Burmester

Second Advisor

Dr. Pearl McHaney

Third Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth West

Abstract

I am baffled each time someone asks me, “Who is Jessie Fauset?” As I delved into critical work written on Fauset, I found her critics dismissed her work because they read them as bad fairytales that showcase the lives of middle-class Blacks. I respectfully disagree. It is true that her novels concentrate on the Black middle-class; they also focus on the realities of Black women, at a time when they were branching out of their homes and starting careers, not out of financial necessity but arising from their desire for working. They establish the start of what Patricia Hill Collins later coined “Black feminism” through strong female characters that refuse to be defined by society. This thesis seeks to add Jessie Fauset to the canon of Black feminists by using Collins’ theories on Black feminism to analyze Fauset’s first two novels, There Is Confusion and Plum Bun.

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