The Missing Author: Gloria Naylor

I think a great fictional book in this class would be Linden Hills by Gloria Naylor. The religious undertones within the text, illustrated by Naylor’s reference to Dante’s Inferno, the  satanic undertones within the character Luther, and the character Willa, just to name a few, tied with the concepts of black oppression within the novel would make great discussion points on intersectionality within black religion and black liberation. Upon having this idea I looked up critical articles that may relate to the religious undertones I remembered in the text, and I found one by Christopher N. Okonkwo that symbolized Willa as a “irregular Messiah”, who’s “self-sacrifice promises emancipation from Nedeed bondage for Linden Hills” (Okonkwo 2). It was definitely an interesting read that I will link below. Naylor’s incorporation of many topics regarding the black community in this novel will allow class conversation to flow wherever needed be and provide for interesting paper topics. Overall, I think the religious undertones coupled with the socio-economical commentary by Naylor and her possible use of a female Messiah will make this novel a great fit for this class.

Suicide or Messianic Self-Sacrifice?: Exhuming Willa’s Body in Gloria Naylor’s Linden Hills  

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