I. Berthas and II. Exploring the fictional origins of stereotypes of The Angry Black Woman and The Strong Black Woman

Parkinson, Cheryl Diane (2021). I. Berthas and II. Exploring the fictional origins of stereotypes of The Angry Black Woman and The Strong Black Woman. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Berthas is a novel exploring the Black British Caribbean Identity of Black British Caribbean Women and the notion of ‘blackness.’ It explores issues arising from leaving the commonwealth in Jamaica to arriving in the Mother Country, Britain.

Set in both the UK and the West Indies, Berthas explores the issues of hybridity, diaspora and duality. It follows four women over four generations, beginning with a death in Jamaica, the West Indies, it transitions to Britain. During the novel, the narration flashes back to characters and their experiences in Jamaica. Berthas ends in the birth of another character Monica.

It is written in a lyrical style much like Toni Morrison’s Jazz (1992), Beloved (1987) as well as Sam Selvon’s Lonely Londoner’s (1956). Like these novels, Berthas has a distinct style that deliberately links with these lyrical novels. And like the characters and people it represents, the structure of this novel is of a hybrid nature. Berthas rests within the oral tradition of the Caribbean as well as incorporating the traditional superstitious beliefs that survived African Slavery, combined/compared with the religious Christian beliefs of the West. The language is also reflective of the hybridity of the people, combining English with Patois in order to create a new language for a new people.

The structure combines different voices, exploring Double Consciousness through Dissociative Identity Disorder, and the hybridity of culture and experience through Revisionist Literature. These voices overlap at times, creating a sense of confusion which is reflective of the theorised collective sense of cultural confusion of being Black Caribbean British. Berthas also examines the internal voice much like Bessie Heads, ‘A Question of Power’ (1973).

The accompanying critical work engages with debates on stereotypes of Angry Black women, and the Strong Black Woman. It engages the debate of globalisation, equality as well as otherness. This thesis seeks to capture an accurate portrayal of the Caribbean Black British female experience.

Further publications by Cheryl Diane Parkinson:
The Revolving Door, Entropy Magazine, July 25th 2018 https://entropymag.org/the-revolving-door/
Paradise Lost, Brave Voices Magazine, Issue 4, October 2019 https://bravevoicesmagazine.wordpress.com/2019/10/03/issue-4/

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and Creative Studies, Department of Film and Creative Writing
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/12023


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