Characterizing "Minor" African American Women's Everyday Singing in African American Literature
Jones, Patrina Carynne
The Graduate School, Stony Brook University: Stony Brook, NY.
A tradition in fiction that echoes throughout the African American literary canon is the commonplace `minor' characterization of female singers who translate the conditions of their everyday lived realities through a uniquely womanist practice of vocal performance. The vocal form of this aesthetic of singing is also represented as a culture of rendered voice and as a sustained motif for personal and group identity. This dissertation argues for the narrative centrality of "minor" African American female singers and also for value to a reading practice that augments secondary characterization on the basis that the literary phenomenon of female singing reformulates traditional reading practices, which placed a text's principle value on its `major' characters, in order to better understand the significance of African American female singers in modern narratives.