Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies


This thesis compares Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody, Wounds of Passion by bell hooks, Meridian by Alice Walker, and Through the Ivory Gate by Virginia King. All four works are written by African American women. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the values of education and religion for women within the culture. This specifically pertains to college-aged women during and directly following the Civil Rights Movement. Each work is discussed chronologically in order to analyze how the protagonists developed from children to adults. It shows each character's attitudes and opinions about the church of her childhood and the changes the occurred within that church as well as the changes that occurred in each character in regards to the church and religion in general. Education for each of the protagonists was an important aspect of life yet caused conflict and forced the women to make difficult choices. All four women were required to make personal sacrifices in order to achieve their academic goals as an outsider within their culture and the American culture as a whole. Even though the four protagonists were intelligent, it was not always a positive aspect of their lives. Two of the works are autobiographical, and two are fiction with many autobiographical aspects. Because of this, the literary works all give personal insights to important incidents and periods in American history.

Copyright Owner

Shannon L. Ellis



OCLC Number


File Format


File Size

88 pages