ERIC Number: ED347560
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Toward a Theory of Reading Black Feminists' Writings.
Bristow, M. B. Smith
Black feminist novelists continue to take issue with males who try to theorize about their artistic creations. Male attitudes toward black women's novels have been characterized as either apathetic, chauvinistic, or paternalistic. Black feminist writers should heed the call for collective racial progress and collective theoretical progress. The next stage will entail the establishment of a theory, perhaps a reception theory, for reading/studying black feminist writings. Males' attempts to theorize about black feminist literature often betray a disturbing paternalism. What is needed is a reception theory involving a tripartite hermeneutics consisting of understanding, explanation, and application coupled with perceptions of the sociology of language, literacy, and literature. Relationships between female characters in black women's lesbian fiction should be taken as metaphors for how the reader should receive the work. This reception theory sees the reader as symbiotic mother and symbolic mother, and can be demonstrated through a reading of the Toni Morrison novel, "Sula." The character Sula can be viewed as a great mother archetype. The reader should also bear in mind the powerful feminine mythology that creative women writers are heir to, such as African goddess paradigms. Finally, "Sula" is a novel about making meaning, a classic postmodern text endlessly reconstructing itself, a virtual carnival of repetitions. (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Feminist Criticism; Literary Theory; Male Female Relationship
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (43rd, Cincinnati, OH, March 19-21, 1992).