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Kennedy’s The Owl Answers (1965): Toward Black Existential Feminism

Hamzeh Ahmad Al-Jarrah
Published 30 July 2018

Abstract

This article analyzes Adrienne Kennedy’s play The Owl Answers (1965) from a Black Existential-feminist perspective. It dissects the black female protagonist’s identity as a trapped identity. In addition, the article unravels the detrimental impacts of oppression and racism on the African-American female protagonist in the play in her attempt to construct a clear concept of her identity. Consequently, one of the significant issues that this article responds to is how Kennedy’s protagonists question the concept of Blackness established by radical black male thinkers. I argue that The Owl Answers presents an existential crisis of achieving one’s authentic identity and a true self. Clara, the female protagonist, strives to achieve an identity of her choice. As a female character and as a black individual, we see her entangled in racist situations from which she finds no exit.

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