By M. Hurst
Drawing on severe frameworks, this examine establishes the centrality of language, gender, and group within the quest for id in modern American fiction. Close readings of novels through Alice Walker, Ernest Gaines, Ann Beattie, John Updike, Chang-rae Lee, and Rudolfo Anaya, between others, show how contributors locate their American identities by way of discovering their own voices inside a culturally diversified and gender wakeful environment.
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Extra resources for Language, Gender, and Community in Late Twentieth-Century Fiction: American Voices and American Identities (American Literature Readings in the Twenty-First Century)
His assessment is partly correct, but Grant, appropriately for his name, takes these women for granted, to some extent because of his desire to resist the pressure of their expectations. indd 31 1/11/2011 1:24:23 PM LANGUAGE, GENDER, AND COMMUNITY other words, she sees the possibilities of using language to express feelings, defuse anger, and negotiate through difficult encounters, but Grant does not. ’ ” (207). Having been focused on himself and on his problems, Grant is shocked when she finally has a quiet moment to tell him the news that her husband has imposed new conditions on their divorce.
Interpreting the central images of Tashi’s imagination becomes a primary pursuit for Tashi’s family, friends, and therapists around the world as she becomes the living text they struggle to explicate. These individuals are all captives of their own experiences, however, so they encounter great difficulty empathizing with Tashi and decoding her stories. Adam, Tashi’s husband, is so bound by his own memories that he cannot reconstruct the past in order to provide context for Tashi’s haunted stories.
Others in the novel, though, take a different view of Grant’s social position and duty to others, especially women. Reverend Ambrose tells him the women have sacrificed to send him to school, not so that he could be become a teacher, but rather so that he could “ ‘relieve pain’ ” (218). However politically or socially limited his views may be regarding the purpose of education or the potential of an educated black man, the minister has seen another side of the women that Grant has ignored. Vividly, Reverend Ambrose describes how the women have scrimped for his education, how their hands are lacerated from picking cotton and their knees are scarred from the time they have spent in prayer.