Date of Award

4-4-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Abstract

This essay collection examines my experience as the single mother of a biracial child and uses it as impetus for posing larger questions about race and class in America. The piece "Good Hair" outlines my first attempt at explaining my son's racial origins to him, "Peacocks" examines my choice to become a single mother by juxtaposing it with our culture's mythology about spinsters and brides, and "Ursus Americanus" uses the initiating incident of a bear roosting in a city tree to examine the causes and consequences of human cultural and class migrations in Rochester, NY. Although grounded in the personal, these essays use techniques of accumulation, juxtaposition and non-linear chronology to reveal the fundamental misunderstandings that lead to White America's problematic constructions of Black and Brown.

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