Write the Vision: Gender and Nation beyond Emancipation
This chapter examines the ways in which Cristina Ayala and Frances Harper’s work demonstrates the interdependence of slavery and freedom. It demonstrates how the problematic relationship between freedom and slavery appears at the level of the poetic line. In distinct ways, each poem uses symbolism and allegory to explore concepts of racial, national, and gender, freedoms. Although the poems differ formally and thematically in a number of ways, each features a precarious freedom that relies on the symbology of slavery to define itself. The chapter also ultimately maintains not that the Cuban and North American historical contexts and literature are identical, but rather that the prerogative of “race,” gender and nationalism in post-abolition Cuba and post-abolition United States was inflected by a series of interlocking ideas. This interlocking produced a similar set of rhetorical and literary responses to them.
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