Departmental Bulletin Paper A Study of Womanist Discourse in Cynthia Bond's Ruby

Yamane, Kathleen

(46)  , pp.49 - 65 , 2018-3 , 奈良大学
" The term “womanisut” was coined in 1983 by novelist Alice Walker to describe the “consiciously Black woman-identified art” rooted in and preserving African American culture while celebrating the diversity of individual experiences. It is only through the close examination of a variety of womanisit writing and other works that the themes, motifs and language that characterize black women's communication can be identified. This paper aims to contribute to that discussion through the analysis of womanisit discourse in a recently published work by Cynthia Bond, her debut novel Ruby. Bond's critically-acclaimed novel centers on protagonist Ruby Bell's struggle to survive against racism and abuse and her relationship with Ephram Jennings, a supermarket bagboy who has loved her since childhood. Ruby leaves the oppressive brutality of rural Texas for New York City where in spite of new opportunities to enjoy jazz bars and a satisfying lesbian relationship, she is victimized in different ways. Returning home, she confronts the haunting nightmares of her younger years, spiraling to madness. The novel received praise for its ""luminous prose"" and ""exquisite language"", but was also criticized for its graphic scenes of child rape, including Ruby's own brutal defiling at the age of five. This paper is a preliminary study exploring Bond's manipulation of language. Through the use of one particular kind of functional shift involving adjectives used nominally (the lonely), the personification of body parts, and novel metaphors and similes, Bond has succeeded in creating vibrant, multi-dimensional characters who inspire empathy and compel us to listen to their stories."

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