Included in this reference book are alphabetically arranged entries for Jewett's writings, characters, family members, friends, acquaintances, and professional associates and admirers. Entries on the most important works and persons include brief bibliographies. The volume begins with a concise introductory essay, and a chronology highlights the chief events in Jewett's life and career. The book closes with a general bibliography of works about Jewett. Given Jewett's complex characterizations and her subtle crafting of plots and settings, this book will be a valuable guide both for those approaching Jewett's works for the first time and for more advanced readers.
A biographical chapter is enriched by an exclusive interview granted by Angelou, and a chapter on genre discusses Angelou's work in the context of the tradition of American and African American autobiography. A chapter is devoted to each of the five volumes of her serial autobiography--I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings(1970), Gather Together in My Name (1974), Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas(1976), The Heart of a Woman (1981), and All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes(1986). The discussion of each novel features sections on narrative point of view, plot development, character development, thematic issues, style and literary devices, and an alternate critical approach from which to read the work. A complete bibliography of Angelou's work, plus a list of reviews of each work and selected secondary critical and biographical sources, complete the work. This companion is ideal for students, teachers, and others interested in Maya Angelou, the African American experience, and the craft of autobiography.
Beginning with a full chapter on Naylor's debut success The Women of Brewster Place (1982), the literary components of each novel are examined: Linden Hills (1985) Mama Day (1988), Bailey's Cafe (1992), and The Men of Brewster Place (1998). In addition to a comprehensive plot synopsis, character portraits, and thematic discussions given for each, all works are carefully related to their historical contexts. By understanding the extent to which seminal events, such as the Great Migration and the ushering in of the Civil Rights Movement, serve as the background for Naylor's works, readers can better appreciate them. Throughout the text, particularly in the alternate critical readings provided, all terms and concepts are clearly explained for the student and the general reader. A select bibliography cites biographical sources, interviews, reviews, criticism, and related works of interest.
A richly drawn biographical chapter examines the life of McMillan and the influences her own personal experiences have exerted on her writings. In the following chapter, Richards discusses McMillan's place in the literary tradition in which such writers as Zora Neale Hurston paved the way and inspired McMillan to write realistic, yet humorous accounts of the African American romantic experience. Richards devotes a chapter to each of McMillan's first four novels; "Mama" (1987), "Disappearing Acts" (1989), "Waiting to Exhale" (1992), and "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" (1996). She discusses each novel in terms of plot, narrative style, character development, thematic issues, historical and cultural context, and alternative critical perspective. The comprehensive bibliography, including a list of reviews and index, covers the movie adaptations as well as the books.
Most of the documents are not readily available in any other printed form. A literary analysis of "Annie John" examines the novel in light of its historical, social, and cultural contexts and as a coming-of-age novel. Each chapter concludes with study questions and topics for research papers and class discussion based on the documents in the chapter, and lists of further reading for examining the themes and issues raised by the novel. This casebook is valuable to students and teachers to help them understand the setting of the novel, its themes, and its young heroine.