Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Sharon Lewis

Committee Member

Rita Jacobs

Committee Member

Art Simon


The last eighty years have been marked by a large body of work by black American women authors who contemplate the effects of place on character. These authors both use and transform the notion of space itself as a way to bring to light traditionally marginalized voices that have been denied a place amongst the annals of history and in literature. Gloria Naylor, whose body of work spans the 1980’s through the present day, is one such contemporary revisionist. My analysis of Naylor’s novels, Linden Hills and Mama Day, considers how Naylor employs geographic structure and landscape to expos e and explore extant power structures, as well as the effects of these power relations on the development of individuals and communities. In the end, I argue, Naylor illustrates the possibility of resistance to the deleterious effects of dominating power relations through the reclamation of homeplace, or (conventionally female) domestic space, by strong female protagonists. I underpin my argument by bringing into conversation with Naylor’s texts, the works of bell hooks and Michel Foucault.

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