This article examines the literary production of two writers from the African diaspora, specifically African American Toni Morrison’s A Mercy
(2008), and Ghanaian-American Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing
(2016), to explore their significance as counter-narratives that defy the “official” historiography of enslavement times in order to set the records straight, as it were. By highlighting these women writers’ project of resistance against normative definitions of black bodies, it is my contention that these works effectively mobilize notions of race, gender, and sexuality. Revisiting the harmful and denigrating legacy of stereotypical designation of enslaved women, these writers make significant political and literary interventions to facilitate the recovery, wholeness, and sanctity of the violated and abjected black body. In their attempt to counter ongoing processes of commodification, exploitation, fetishization, and sexualization, I argue that these writers chronicle new forms of identity and agency that promote individual and generational healing and care as forms of protest and resistance against toxic definitions of hegemonic gender and sexuality.
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