Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 314
The Slave Girl (1997), by Buchi Emecheta, as the title suggests, is about a young slave girl living in and dealing with Nigerian culture in the early part of the twentieth century. She is eventually freed when a man purchases her as a bride. Her freedom is in concept only, as she becomes her husband's property.
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Buchi Emecheta's The Joys of Motherhood (1979) takes place in Lagos, Nigeria. It is a story that continues along the same lines as Emecheta's The Bride Price (1976). It tells the story of the suffering of women in a male-dominated culture caught in the clash of change as Nigeria works toward independence. Emecheta's own move toward unorthodox female characters intensifies in this novel.
Jamaica Kincaid, who grew up in the Caribbean, writes a story about a 19-year-old young woman who must leave her island homeland to work in the United States as an au pair. Lucy (1990) is the story of a young black woman struggling to find her own identity.
In Liliane: Resurrection of the Daughter (1994), Ntozake Shange reveals the complexities of Liliane's life as she struggles against racism and bigotry in the United States. This story also deals with Liliane's angers and frustrations in dealing with the loss of her mother, as well as her relationships with her father and close friends.
Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) is a tale about the challenges that face a young, black woman living in the American South. It is a coming-of-age story in which a young woman flees from a pre-arranged marriage and struggles to create an acceptable understanding of life.
A young Haitian woman, Sophie, from Edwidge Danticat's Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994), is sent from Haiti to live with her mother in New York. Sophie's relationship with her mother is a key issue in this story, one that she does not fully comprehend until she finally returns to her homeland.