“What you do to Children Matters”: Motherhood in Toni Morrison's God Help the Child
Toni Morrison’s latest novel, God Help the Child, explores the damaging effects of racism on motherhood and the dramatic impact of toxic mothering upon children. The institution of patriarchal motherhood fails to enact the critical tasks of motherwork —preservation, nurturance and cultural bearing, while mothering is a potential site of empowerment of black children and African American culture. African American authoritarian parenting style, associated with patriarchal motherhood, has a correlation with diverse factors, such as the legacy of slavery and its survival strategies, low-income and/or single-parent households and the disruption of the motherline. Motherhood distorted by racism cannot develop a sense of black selfhood in children, thwarting their chances of survival, resistance and subversion of racist ideologies.
Keywords: African American, authoritarian parenting, passing for white, single, motherhood.
How to Cite
Authors who publish with this journal agree to retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. Also, authors will retain the rights on their work, even if they will be granting The Grove. Working Papers on English Studies a non-exclusive right of use to reproduce, edit, distribute, publicly communicate and show their work. Therefore, authors are free to engage in additional, independent contracts for non-exclusive distribution of the works published in this journal (such as uploading them to an institutional repository or publishing them in a book), as long as the fact that the manuscripts were first published in this journal is acknowledged.