The opportunities created by the end of the Mao Era and legislature promoting the rights of African Americans and women in the mid-twentieth century allowed women of both cultures to break further into the literary scene and negotiate their own sense of agency through their work. Although Western feminism also grew rapidly throughout this period, its ethnocentric centering of gender prevented it from being a reliable lens with which to analyze the work of Chinese and African American women who experienced issues of race, class, and gender simultaneously. This caused Western feminists to evaluate the work of Chinese and African American women from a perspective of privilege and misrepresented the cultural, social, and political influences that impacted their agency. Thus, this paper seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of the intersectional paradigm as a comparative lens with which to analyze the construction of female characters in mid-twentieth century Chinese and African American fiction in place of a Western feminist lens. To this effect, it will apply the intersectional lens to Toni Morrison's Sula (1973) and Wang Anyi's Song of Everlasting Sorrow (2008) specifically, to determine how this research paradigm can be used to reveal the identities the female protagonists construct and their opportunities for agency. This paper hopes to increase discourse on the applications of intersectionality in literature as a tool for better understanding the literature of women of color.
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Lynton, Jordan, "An intersectional comparison of female agency in Toni Morrison's Sula and Wang Anyi's Song of Everlasting Sorrow" (2013). HIM 1990-2015. 1428.