Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis


English Language and Literatures


College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Gretchen Woertendyke


This thesis analyzes abjection in the African-American female experience using Bayou, a graphic novel series by Jeremy Love and Patrick Morgan. I examine the relationship between the protagonist, Lee, and her late mother, Tar Baby, to reveal the latter as an abject component of the former’s identity. The project continues a trend of reading abjection into the African-American experience using gothic fiction and focuses on multiple scenes that serve as intersections of violence and femininity. It draws on sociological and psychological studies concerning black womanhood and beauty politics to extend investigation to the Mississippi community Lee and Tar Baby share. Finding that the dynamic between mother and daughter is mirrored in Tar Baby’s relationship with her community, this paper views abjection as a continuous challenge in black bodies on an individual and communal scale.


© 2016, Chalice Ritter