New Sides to the Story

Literature / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
An in-depth review of Gloria Naylor’s novel, `Mama Day`, portraying the reinvigoration of the American romance tradition.

The paper examines the book `Mama Day` and explores how its black author, Gloria Naylor, draws upon motifs of the traditionally white patriarchal American romance tradition and renders them relevant to a black text, set in our modern day multi-cultural society. The paper outlines the multiplicity of themes covered in the novel, thereby illustrating the many sides to the story.

Introduction
Continuing the Tradition
Typology
Eden and Isolation
Bridges
The Akedic Myth
Knowledge and Skepticism
Genealogy
Matriarchy
Tradition and Religion
Black and White
Language
Conclusion
Bibliography
In his essay Tradition and the Individual Talent, T.S. Elliot observes that the past should be altered by the present as much as the present is directed by the past (Selected Essays 15). In other words, each new addition to the literary tradition reconstructs the entire canon, both in the way it conforms to the already existing canon, as well as in the direction towards which it carries the canon from that point on. In the past, there has perhaps been little need to consider where the American Romance Tradition was heading. The shift to newer forms of writing might suggest that the tradition that had begun in the 19th century with Poe and Hawthorne died out sometime in the early part of the 20th century; with Faulkner, perhaps, or with Flannery 0’Connor. It seems to me, however, that the tradition is still very much alive, and evolving to adapt to the environment of a new era.


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