Rediscovering Identity: A Critical Analysis of Angela Johnson’s Toning the Sweep and a certain October
Angela Johnson, one of the celebrated contemporary African American children’s and young adult writers creates memorable and real characters as she addresses personal, everyday subjects, related with family relationships. Her focus is on challenges associated with racial violence, growing up; yearnings for love and comfort, as also, dealing with issues such as teen pregnancy and divorce, etc. Johnson relies heavily on her personal experiences and her place of origin to tell her stories. The present paper focuses on two of her works, Toning the Sweep (1993) and a certain October (2012). Largely based on black families and their relationships, Johnson gives special attention to the theme of rediscovering black identity. Her works successfully fulfil one of the objectives that W.E.B. DuBois postulated in The Brownies’ Book, “to make colored children know that being colored is a normal, beautiful thing.” Johnson in her works chronicles positive images of young blacks. The present paper focuses on two of her works to examine how black families survive the social and historical challenges surrounding them in the American society.
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