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Wright’s position within the American literary canon has been contested by feminist literary critics who take issue with the treatment of gender in his work. Wright’s women characters, both real and fictional, when examined within the breadth of his published and unpublished works contests this interpretation by demonstrating an archive of black women’s experience unlike any from the era. Wright’s oeuvre is composed of a complex array of black women who are portrayed as mothers, workers, leaders, activists, and theorists. They are representations of the world as it is. This lineage of black women (and Wright’s relationship to the real and fictional women in his life) also evolves alongside the author’s political consciousness.
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