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Images of Minority Women in the Contemporary American Ethnic Literature


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Starešina, Martina. (2019). Images of Minority Women in the Contemporary American Ethnic Literature. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of English Language and Literature. [mentor Šesnić, Jelena].

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Ethnic women in the United States are locked out for both being women and being of color. Both racism and sexism are very strong in the United States, and ethnic women are in quite a few respects at the bottom of American social ladder. More often than not they are deprived of basic human rights, or are given lesser opportunities than white women, or ethnic men. Their salaries are lower, their living conditions are worse, and to top it all, they are prejudiced against, racialized and sexualized on daily basis. They are treated as less then equal members of American society. Ethnic women are a huge group in America, therefore their problem is the U.S.’s problem, and should definitely be focused on. In order to address the issue, it was necessary to introduce several important concepts at the beginning: those were the concepts of whiteness; race, otherness, and ethnicity; and, finally, feminism, especially that of color. Also, three works of fiction are used to illustrate this thesis: Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street, Mohja Khaf’s The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah. The main characters have been analyzed from the perspective of being ethnic women in American society. An emphasis is put on how they found their sense of belonging; how they made peace with the dominant culture; to what extent they assimilated, and how they managed to accomplish the task of blending in; how their bodies were racialized; and why it was important for them to appear whiter; and, in the end, why those three protagonists are so special, and what makes them stand out in their respective ethnic groups. It is shown that the images of ethnic women in American literature have centered around certain identifiable tropes and have consistently charted both the persistence of stereotypes and the notions of change.

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ethnicity, race, whiteness, feminism, U.S. minority women
Subjects: English language and literature
Departments: Department of English Language and Literature
Supervisor: Šesnić, Jelena
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2019 12:42
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2019 12:42

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