Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts In English Degree



First Advisor

Burrell, Julie

Second Advisor

Dr. Frederick Karem

Third Advisor

Dr. Melanie Gagich


While scholars who investigate the works of African diasporic authors Edwidge Danticat, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Claudia Rankine acknowledge the importance between form and audience in their works, critics have either yet to fully recognize how and/or for what purpose each author implements specific techniques. Paying close attention to what I propose are formal affective strategies in Danticat’s Everything Inside, Adichie’s The Thing Around Your Neck, and Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric, allows us to see how each author infuses experimental forms that are strategically bound to how their future readers will react to their texts with the hope that these reactions will prove more socially and politically moving than just moving—as in readers simply turning the page. Black diasporic women authors, including Danticat, Adichie, and Rankine, destabilize traditional literary paradigms and invent new formal affective strategies in their works. Upon closer consideration, these strategies not only help expose the continuous exclusivity of the American Dream and contemporary problems associated with the enduring patriarchal hegemony, but by engaging the audience with commonly felt affects, reconfigure future possibilities for intersectional solidarity through the very conflicts and difficulties their writings explore and formally embody