RASICM IN AMERICA AND APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA: A LITERARY DISCOURSE OF RICHARD WRIGHT’S BLACK BOY AND ALEX’ LA GUMA’S A WALK IN THE NIGHT

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ABSTRACT

This research work is aimed at looking at the problems of racism and apartheid in South Africa and America with references to two selected texts from the two countries. The instruments used include library research and text analyses. Chapter one deals with introduction, background to the study, statement of problem, purpose of the study, scope and limitation, methodology used and justification. Chapter two of the work is basically concerned with literature review with the views of different authors on the nature and problems of racism and apartheid. Chapter three deals with the textual analyses of the selected texts. Chapter four is on the comparison between racism in America and apartheid in South Africa, and the reaction of the characters in the selected texts to racism and apartheid. Chapter five covers conclusion.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page
Abstract
Table of contents

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.2       Background to the Study
1.3       Statement of Problem
1.4       Purpose of Study
1.5       Scope and Limitation
1.6       Methodology
1.7       Justification

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1       Literature Review
2.2       Theoretical Framework
2.3       Review of Literature

CHAPTER THREE:            RACISM IN AMERICA AND APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA
3.1       Richard Wright’s Black Boy
3.2       Apartheid in Alex La Guma’s A Walk in the Night

CHAPTER FOUR: REACTION OF THE CHARACTERS TO RACISM AND APARTHEID
4.1       Black Boy
4.2       A Walk in the Night
4.3       Comparison between Apartheid in South Africa and Racism in America

CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSION
Work Cited


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION
The subject of racism and apartheid has been a lively topic for critical debate since the turn of the twentieth century, with scholars examining the treatment of various kinds of discrimination based on race, religion, or gender in literary works, both past and present as well as in the attitude of the writers themselves. Racism is the belief that a particular race is superior or inferior to another, that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological characteristics. Apartheid on the other hand, is an Afrikaans word meaning “the state of being apart”. While apartheid was the system of racial segregation in South Africa enforced through legislation by the National Party Government, the ruling party from 1948 to 1994, under which the rights, associations and movements of the majority of black inhabitants were curtailed and minority rule was maintained, racism in America was

backed by racial segregation laws enacted from 1876 to the 20th century in the United States at the state and local level. They mandated racial segregation in all public facilities in Southern States. The separation in practice led to conditions for African Americans that were inferior to those provided for white Americans, systematizing a number of economic, educational and social disadvantages.


The vast majority of research on racial segregation focuses on the United States; however, in one of the most influential books on racial segregation American Apartheid, Massey and Denton assert that the impact of racial segregation in the U.S is similar to the impact of racial segregation in South Africa (Massey, Douglas and Denton, Nancy 15). This comparison provides the basis of my study to understand whether the patterns of racial segregation of blacks from whites in the United State are the same for Africans in South Africa. Critics have approached the study of racism in literature by exploring its characteristics, in a genre. Scholars have also been particularly interested in discussing the treatment of racism in fiction written by and about African Americans. For example, Ralph L. Pearson in his book The Negro in American Civilization: A Study of Negro Life and Race Relations in the Light of Social Research, has commented on Charles S. Johnson’s attempt to combat racism during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, Karen Overbye has examined Evelyn Scott’s depiction of mulattoes in two novels (The Narrow House 1921, and Escapade 1923) composed in that same period. Jerry H. Bryant commented on racial violence in Richard Wright’s Native Son, written in 1940, and Steven G. Kellman has written of the uneasy relationship between African Americans and Jews as seen in Bernard Malamud’s The Tenants (1971).

Other critics have focused on the theme of racism in individual works of literature. Frances W. Kaye, for example in his article “Race and Reading: The Burden of Huckleberry Finn” continues a long-standing and vigorous discussion about racism in Mark Twain’s The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn (1884). Anna Shannon Elfenbein has explored Kate Chopin’s manipulation of racial and gender stereotypes in The Awakening (1899), and their treatment by Southern Society. The novels Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, and The Destruction of Black Civilization by Chancellor Williams all discuss the severity of the problem. One area of the world in which white racism toward blacks has been prevalent is the United States. For much of American history true progress for blacks in the area of Civil Rights has been difficult to attain. The view of many whites in America toward civil rights is summed up in Invisible Man by a simple Salutation. “To Whom It May Concern: Keep this Nigger – Boy Running” (Ellison 33).This idea is reflective of the bleak situation African Americans face in America. Finally, the racism which persisted in the.....

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