MALE ABSENCE AND SINGLE PARENTHOOD IN BLACK WRITING: A STUDY OF RICHARD WRIGHT’S BLACK BOY, TONI MORRISON’S BELOVED, AND LAURETTA NGCOBO’S CROSS OF GOLD

MALE ABSENCE AND SINGLE PARENTHOOD IN BLACK WRITING: A STUDY OF RICHARD WRIGHT’S BLACK BOY, TONI MORRISON’S BELOVED, AND LAURETTA NGCOBO’S CROSS OF GOLD

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  • Study Level: BTech, BSc, BEng, BA, HND, ND or NCE.
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Abstract

This study employs Realism as an analytical tool to assess the various dimensions

of male absence and single parenthood in Richard Wright‟s Black Boy (1945), Toni

Morrison‟s Beloved (1987) and Lauretta Ngcobo‟s Cross of Gold (1981). This research

is thus a comparative study of male absence and single parenthood in Black writing in

the United States and South Africa. The study posits that the spread of male absence and

single parenthood (female-headed homes) among African Americans and Black South

Africans are not unconnected with the socio-historical events experienced in the United

States and South Africa respectively. Whereas African American men are generally

considered and presented as deliberate deserters due to their inability to handle their

sole provider responsibility, male absence and single parenthood among Black South

Africans largely results from men‟s response to familial needs which usually takes them

to the mines in urban areas as well as other governmental policies basically designed to

blow especially black families into fragments.

CHAPTER ONE:

INTRODUCTION

1.1      General Introduction

This research examines, from a comparative perspective, the preoccupation,

through the novel genre, of three Black writers: Richard Wright, Toni Morrison and

Lauretta Ngcobo with male absence and single parenthood in Black families. The study

establishes the relationship between male absence and single parenthood from the

perspective of single parenthood or female-headed household as a byproduct of male

absence. The study also shows how the various deployments of male absence and single

parenthood signify an exploration of a typical and universal human experience by the

three writers. The study adopts realism as a theoretical tool to assess the life-like

dimension to the subject matter in the texts under preview.

The terms Blacks or Black people are used in systems of racial classification for

humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups. However, in both the

United States and South Africa, the racial classification also refers to people with all

possible kinds of skin pigmentation from the darkest through to the very light skin

colours, including albinos, if they are believed by others to have African ancestry and

exhibit cultural traits associated with being ―African-American‖ (Westminster, 2011).

The people of African and West Indian origin, with dark skin are equally classified under

similar umbrella words – Blacks or Black people (Kankan, 2009).

Although there is scarcely any uniform conclusion on the definition, nature and

scope of Black writing, this study holds that among other African writing, African-

1


American and Black South African literature connotes Black writing which reflects Black

experience in its entirety. Like other issues featured in Black writings, the exploration of

male absence and single parenthood is contingent upon those socio-historical processes

which g


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