Borders, space, and liminality in Dorothy West's "The Living is Easy" and Rudolf Fisher's "The Walls of Jericho"
Edwards, Cheri Paris
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In The Living Is Easy and The Walls of Jericho , novelists Dorothy West and Rudolf Fisher offer ethnographical treatments of 1930s Boston and Harlem. Along with focusing on the interracial divide in these writings, the authors illuminate intra-racial divisions of class, color, and regionality. Latina writer Gloria Anzaldua has establishes theory addressing the effect of spatial, psychological and cultural borders in Borderlands: La Frontera. Anthropologist Arnold Van Gennep's observations of tribal rites of passages are accepted patterns of human social behavior, and the middle stage of this process is the liminal passage. This study identifies and analyzes inter- and intra-racial borders, spaces, and liminal passages in these works, along with their effect on characters. Juxtaposed throughout the study are comparison and contrast of the writers' backgrounds, life experiences, and the effect of region and gender on their works, as well as the authors' literary careers and their own struggle to negotiate borders, spaces, and liminal passages.