|About the Book|
The relationship between humans and their gods has always been a primary theme in literature. Until recently, however, books in the American literary canon have rarely been concerned with any supernatural beings other than the Judeo-Christian god. In this book Bonnie Winsbro moves beyond that narrow focus to examine the power of the supernatural in the works of six ethnic writers: Lee Smiths Oral History, Louise Erdrichs Tracks, Leslie Marmon Silkos Ceremony, Gloria Naylors Mama Day, Toni Morrisons Beloved, and Maxine Hong Kingstons The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts. By selecting these authors, Winsbro provides a multicultural perspective - Appalachian, Native American, African American, and Chinese American - on the internal turmoil experienced by ethnic individuals when their belief systems clash with those of family, community, or dominant culture. Although their responses to such conflicts differ, Winsbro argues, all six authors believe that personal power is acquired through self-definition, the process by which one constructs ones own reality as a foundation for living in ones own center rather than on anothers margins. By analyzing works that treat seriously a belief in such supernatural figures as witches, healers, and ghosts, Winsbro seeks to show that the contemporary world is not defined by one reality - a rationalistic, scientific reality, for example, or a Judeo-Christian reality - but by many realities. Indeed, acknowledging the coexistence, collision, and coalescence of multiple realities is one of the distinguishing features of postmodern life.