Oppression and Emancipation of African American Women in Suzan Lori Parks’ Venus

Muhannad Hassan Jasim, Lajiman Janoory


The aim of this paper is to critically explore various challenges faced by oppressed and suppressed African American women in the western societies. It also explores the varied emancipatory efforts they make when striving to absolve themselves of the forces of oppression and dehumanization as portrayed by Suzan Lori Parks in her play, Venus. The paper uses the postcolonial feminist theory of the Subaltern as the basis for the analysis to thoroughly examine the play extrinsically and intrinsically. In her play, Suzan- Lori Parks portrays African American women facing the turbulence of racism, discrimination and inequality in the western socio-geographical setting. She confidently and aesthetically reveals various challenges hindering the progress and life fulfilment of the African American women through the heroine of her play. The paper traces the history of Venus, unveils the cruelty of the European mentality and racial discrimination against African women. It also shows the rights of African women and identifies new ways for them to express their identities. Finally, the paper reveals that despite the obvious and prevalent acts of discrimination for African women for over the years, the problem persists. However, unlike the pre–Civil Rights era, today’s discrimination is less readily identifiable.


Discrimination, Racism, Subaltern, Suzan Lori Parks, and Venus

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.7n.7p.142


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