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African Diasporic Women's NarrativesPolitics of Resistance, Survival, and Citizenship$
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Simone A. James Alexander

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813049823

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813049823.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 16 October 2019

Mothering the Nation

Mothering the Nation

Women’s Bodies as Nationalist Trope in Edwidge Danticat’s Breath, Eyes, Memory

Chapter:
(p.96) 4 Mothering the Nation
Source:
African Diasporic Women's Narratives
Author(s):

Simone A. James Alexander

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813049823.003.0005

Addressing the masculinist guise embedded in the term “mothers of the nation,” this chapter demonstrates how Danticat confronts hegemonic masculinity and nationalism by decoding the nationalist language of the term “mothers of the nation.” It examines how women were politicized as “a wife and mother of the nation,” prerequisites for good citizenship, and saddled with the duty to not only take care of her children but also her country. The language within which women are scripted is articulated and dominated by men. As such, men are projected on the national scene as protectors/defenders of women and the state and enforcers of state-regulated laws. The language of nationalism is used to not only restrict or limit women's public roles or appearances, denying them the ability to “practice citizenship,” but it also requires them to control their sexuality by espousing and practicing proper womanhood. Therefore, the nationalist language functions as an approved language through which sexual control and repression are justified and masculine prowess is expressed and exercised.

Keywords:   Nationalism, Nation, Hegemonic masculinity

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