Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Emily Cheng

Committee Member

Sharon Lewis

Committee Member

Jonathan Greenberg


Gloria Naylor uses Gothic elements in two of her novels, Linden Hills and The Women of Brewster Place, to highlight struggles and fears of the black communities of these texts. In each, the characters try to navigate through a white, patriarchal world, which causes them to struggle economically, emotionally, and socially. Throughout reading these texts, it is clear that Naylor uses the sins of the father, the absent mother/fear of motherhood, and religion versus the state/science, all Gothic elements, to show how these characters are put in the position of other and how they respond to occupying that space.

Each of these Gothic elements deals with relationships, whether those relationships are between individual people or a person/small group of people and the larger society. Some of the relationships explored through these texts are between black men and women, black men with other black men, and black women with other black women. The heterosexual, homosexual, hetero-social, and homo-social relationships of both texts all weave together a larger narrative. Through these elements and relationships Gloria Naylor poses many questions, but none so compelling as: What does a black community, outside of white patriarchy, look like?

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