Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Donald C. Goellnicht
This thesis involves a study of how lace and space interact in Gloria Naylor's novels. Although there has been some discussion of these issues in regards to her first two novels, The Women of Brewster Place and Linden Hills, there has been less on Mama Day, and Bailey's Cafe has yet to receive any great critical attention. In this work, 1will add a theoretical dimension that African-American criticism has not utilized. My use of geographical discourse to define how place and space exist and coexist will provide the basis for my argument. The spatial construction of race, class and gender has the power to socially and literally "place" people. Naylor, however, offers that positive spaces can be developed to counteract the effects of the symbolic spatial order. I also examine why Gloria Naylor's novels have changed so much since The Women of Brewster Place. Focusing mainly on Mama Day and Bailey's Cafe I outline a progression that I see as her novels move from settings in literal places to an almost total disregard of literal place. In the Introduction, I outline my theoretical approach and then briefly examine similar issues of place and space in The Women of Brewster Place and Linden Hills. Moving then into an examination of Mama Day. I explore how Naylor begins to expand her geography, breaking down concepts of literal place and focusing more on positive space. In the chapter on Bailey's Cafe, I argue that this is Naylor' s boldest manipulation of geography as place turns into psychological, personal and communal space. I also argue throughout these chapters that Naylor's textual strategies begin to reflect the breakdown in place as the novels become psychological, personal and communal spaces. Naylor's novels. therefore offer a new type of geography that defies social space and the limits of physical place.
Bishop, Terrence, "A New Geography: Place and Space in Gloria Naylor's Fiction" (1996). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6405.
McMaster University Library