Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (MA)

Committee Member

Racine, Nathaniel R.

Committee Member

Cantu, Irma L.

Committee Member

Kozazaczka, Adam


The pages to follow examine literary representation of people of color, particularly women, in regards to racial and gender equality in a nineteenth century hemispherically American context. The Slum (1890), Sab (1841), and Beloved (1987), though from different countries, and time periods, present a continuum of the intersectional struggle for equality in the ongoing narrative of the Americas hemispherically. “American” and “Hemispherical” refers to North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean in a political and sociological sense. These novels are set side by side to highlight the historical and societal similarities. The characters in this literature reflect American society in a variety of ways, from surviving slavery to living in relative freedom and from being voiceless in literature to various literary voices expressed. In addition, the novels analyzed create a narrative for the subjugated specific to AfricanAmericans and mixed-race people that highlights the importance of matriarchal voices. Also, the novels analyzed highlight a growing awareness of intersectional themes represented in literature. While Beloved is the “best” of the three works by today’s standards in regards to sensitivity to the intersectional issues at hand, without the kind of representation in the earlier narratives, ideas about race and gender would be stagnant. As a result of the growing literary awareness of intersectional themes one can examine Beloved as it provides profound subjectivity with the various African American matriarchal narratives creating a polyphony of voices. What links the texts are the author’s attempts to confront racist and misogynistic paradigms and express a multitude of realities. The Slum by Aluisio Azevedo, Sab by Gertrudis Avellaneda, and Beloved by Toni Morrison contribute to the dialogue of racial and gender oppression in the Americas by providing a wide spectrum of women's narratives.