Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Dr. Carol Marsh-Lockett - Chair
Dr. Mary Zeigler
Dr. Kameelah Martin Samuel
This study employs African American literary criticism and critical discourse analysis to evaluate Julia Peterkin's Scarlet Sister Mary (1928) and Gloria Naylor's Mama Day (1988). These women write stories of African American life on the Sea Islands through different prisms that evoke cultural memory within and outside the texts. Peterkin, a white Southerner, writes as an "onlooker" and “pioneer” of fictional Gullah culture; Naylor, a black Northerner by birth, writes as an "outsider" to Gullah culture, although a veteran of African American Southern heritage. The authors' hybridity produce different literary voices. A close examination of their discourse conveys a coded language pertinent to understanding the historical, social, and political conditions portrayed through their texts. This study will examine their discourse to prove that Julia Peterkin’s, Scarlet Sister Mary, takes ownership over the Gullah experience rendering stereotypical characterizations promoting hegemony; while Gloria Naylor's, Mama Day, resurrects Peterkin’s view rendering multi-dimensional characterizations that legitimize the authenticity of Gullah culture and aid in its preservation.
Hills, Crystal Margie, "Wees Gonna Tell It Like We Know It Tuh Be: Coded Language in the Works of Julia Peterkin and Gloria Naylor" (2008). English Theses. Paper 45.