|Kodjo Afagla, Heralding Women’s Cause without Trumpet Calls: Subtle Feminism in Paule Marshall’s Fic|
Heralding Women’s Cause without Trumpet Calls: Subtle Feminism in Paule Marshall’s Fiction
Maître de Conférences,
Université de Lomé, Togo
Marshall’s own comment concerning her female characters serves as an appropriate entry point to
this exploration of her deployment of feminism in her art (Washington, 1981: 324; italics in the original):
I’m concerned about letting them speak their piece, letting them be central figures,
actors, activists in fiction rather than just backdrop or background figures. I want
them to be central characters. Women in fiction seldom are. Traditionally in most
fiction men are the wheelers and dealers. They are the ones in whom power is
invested. I wanted to turn that around. I wanted women to be the centers of power.
My feminism takes its expression through my work. Women are central for me.
They can as easily embody the power principles as a man.