By Stelamaris Coser
A strong argument for extending the bounds of what's labeled as American literature
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Extra info for Bridging The Americas: The Literature of Paule Marshall, Toni Morrison, and Gayl Jones
9 In the United States, stereotypes of "the other Americans" from below the border are part of the colonial heritage and often conflate with similar simplifications, ambiguities, and oppositions in images of African descendants or Native Americans. 10 The inherited stereotypes of Indians and Africans in the dominant culture of the United States intertwine with perceptions of the Caribbean and Latin America, areas where the percentage of "peoples of color" was usually greater than the European population during colonial times and tends to remain so today (except for Argentina, Uruguay, and the southern part of Brazil).
Political boundaries between nation-states still signal separation and difference, but identities and histories overlap and crisscross over and beyond those limits. In addition to the combined focus on race, class, and gender, the articulation of a multicultural and polyglot inter-Americanness assumes special significance in a decadethe 1990s, five hundred years after Christopher Columbus named the continentthat calls forth a dynamic reinterpretation of New World myths, traditions, and conflicts.
26 At the same time, by willing to associate with narrative strategies and ideological concerns expressed by Latin American male writers, these women avoid the reductionism of an exclusively black female narrative. 27 My reading of Morrison, Jones, and Marshall investigates their creation of this inter-space between genders, races, nations, and hemispheres. " As the "conscience of the nation" began to show an unprecedented willingness to "speak with themselves, with their own Page 10 otherness," the potential for a real dialogue with Mexico and Latin America increased.