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Happily Ever After? Marriage and Its Rejection in Afro-American Novels


Sybille Kamme-Erkel

The dissertation analyzes the aspect of marriage as it is presented in Afro-American novels from the 1850's up to the present. The aim of the thesis is to survey the different types of marriage described and to examine the changes in the black writers' attitudes towards marriage. Besides novels by well-known Afro-American authors such as James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker and Toni Morrison, novels by authors who have received less attention in the past have also been included, for example William Wells Brown, Charles Chesnutt, Frank J. Webb, Frances E. Harper, Nella Larsen, Jessie Fauset, Ann Petry, Louise Meriwether, Margaret Walker and Chester Himes.
Contents: The aspect of marriage is examined under the following headings: The effects of racism on marriages - Interracial unions. middle-class marriages - The presentation of marriage as a trap for black women characters - The rejection of marriage (and nd sometimes even motherhood) by black women characters.