Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Karem, Frederick

Subject Headings

Butler, Octavia E. Kindred, Johnson, Charles (Charles Richard), 1948- Oxherding tale, Slave narratives, Slavery in literature, Patriarchy in literature, Masculinity in literature, African Americans -- History, Black nationalism -- United States -- History, African-American neo-slave narrative satiric first-person slave narrative Octavia Butler Kindred Charles Johnson Oxherding Tale Family Black Nationalism essentialism Moynihan Report Mikhail Bakhtin patriarchal


The tradition of African-American satire developed from within the African village, provided a creative model of uncensored rhetorical criticism from within the limited discursive terrains of antebellum slavery to well into today's African-American artists' often satiric descriptions of contemporary society. Evolved from the nineteenth centuries first-person slave narrative, the impulse of the neo-slave narrative is two fold: (1) cultural (re) appropriation of the dominant mythology, to correct the plantation pastoral, which had really been out there since 1870 to the 20th century (e.g., Gone with the Wind and The Song of the South), thus to recapture the image of the plantation from the popular imagination laden with negative stereotypes (2) assess the lasting cultural meaning of slavery, in spite of America's constantly changing social climate. For the neo-slave narratives of Octavia Butler's Kindred (1979) and Charles Johnson's Oxherding Tale (1982), the social climate of the nineteen-sixties and early seventies, dominated by social division--punctuated by Black Nationalism's essentialism and state sanctioned reinforcement of social division the Moynihan Report - informs their unusual pairing of satire with the slave neo-narrative to examine black mas ulinity through the domestic narrative of the family. To differentiate and interpret the satiric perspective in Kindred and Oxherding Tale, it is through Mikhail Bakhtin's theories of dialogism, polyphony, heteroglossia, and carnival that establishes the critical focus of this thesis on the complex relationship between family and society, in their varying expressions of destabilizing patriarchal discourse and its concomitant-- Black Nationalist masculine authority