By Doveanna S. Fulton
In talking energy, DoVeanna S. Fulton explores and analyzes using oral traditions in African American women's autobiographical and fictional narratives of slavery. African American girls have always hired oral traditions not just to narrate the discomfort and degradation of slavery, but in addition to have a good time the subversions, struggles, and triumphs of Black event. Fulton examines orality as a rhetorical process, its function in passing on kin and private historical past, and its skill to empower, subvert oppression, assert enterprise, and create representations for the previous. as well as taking an insightful examine imprecise or little-studied slave narratives like Louisa Picquet, the Octoroon and the Narrative of Sojourner fact, Fulton additionally brings a clean viewpoint to extra everyday works, resembling Harriet Jacobs's Incidents within the lifetime of a Slave woman and Harriet Wilson's Our Nig, and highlights Black feminist orality in such works as Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes have been observing God and Gayl Jones's Corregidora.
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Extra info for Speaking Power: Black Feminist Orality in Women’s Narratives of Slavery
However, for Picquet not only is her mother’s word enough to substantiate her claim, but the physical resemblance between Madame Randolph’s child and herself is sufficient evidence of her parentage. Therefore, an official document or acknowledgment is unnecessary. Also, this passage displays a tradition of orality in that Picquet’s mother was forbidden to divulge her child’s parentage; yet, she does tell Picquet, who in turn tells the world. ORALITY TO FREEDOM Like Douglass’s freedom through literacy, orality was also a viable method to freedom.
She recognized that the recorder of her narrative, Gilbert, could not truly depict every aspect of her identity without inserting foreign ideas and implications. In her essay “Sojourner Truth: A Practical Public Discourse,” Drema R. Lipscomb substantiates my argument by identifying Truth’s memorization of biblical passages as “crucial to her being able to draw her own interpretations” (232). While one might argue that Gilbert could have simply recorded Truth verbatim, I assert that Sojourner Truth’s lack of reading and writing skills made conclusive knowledge of Gilbert’s narrative content impossible for her, and thus, she knew better than to assume the accuracy of the Narrative.
Extending Mullen’s argument, I posit that, unlike Frederick Douglass’s emphasis on freedom through literacy and manhood, women’s slave narratives illustrate freedom through orality, which, according to the ideological constructions of American nineteenth-century society, was most viable for slave women. Moreover, Frances Foster’s essay “‘In Respect to Females . ’: Differences in the Portrayals of Women by Male and Female Narrators” proves that—contrary to the passive victims depicted by male slave narrators—female ex-slave narrators portrayed strong courageous females enmeshed in supportive familial relations.
Speaking Power: Black Feminist Orality in Women’s Narratives of Slavery by Doveanna S. Fulton