Phanuel Akubueze Egejuru, Womanbeing and Womanself: Characters in Black Women’s Novels

Pamela J. Olúbùnmi Smith, University of Nebraska at Omaha

This article was reused with permission.


Prior to the mid-1960s, the representations of black female characters in African and African American literature first came filtered through the lens of white and black male novelists in the United States and black male novelists on the African continent. However, the "emergence" of black women writers on the literary scene presented female characters distinct from the stark representations created from the male imagination. With these post-1960s literary portrayals, the cardboard, one-dimensional image/characterization of the black female as other than a male "appendage" was all but laid to rest. Armed with the literary works of a number of African women writers-Arna Ata Aidoo, Mariama Ba, Tsitsi Damgarembga, Buchi Emecheta, Bessie Head, Flora Nwapa-and African American women writers Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Paule Marshall, Womanbeing and Womanselfby Phanuel Egejuru has deftly confirmed these major literary developments and artistic achievements.