n Gender Questions - Incarceration, transformation and awareness in the African American novel

Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2309-9704



This article examines the theme of black male incarceration in the African American novel. Black male incarcerated characters are frequently presented as the most socially aware characters in the novel, in spite of their isolation. In different African American novels, black male incarcerated characters experience a transformation as a result of their incarceration that leads to a heightened awareness of their marginalisation as black men. Because of their compromised agency in incarceration, these characters are not able to express black masculinity in traditional ways. Using novels by Richard Wright, James Baldwin, John A. Williams and Ernest Gaines, I argue that black male incarcerated characters use their heightened awareness as an alternative method of expressing black masculinity.

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