Black Women Writers @ Southwestern University

An English / Feminist Studies / Race & Ethnicity Studies Course Blog

Duality and Sororophobia

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Sororophobia – fear of sisters

Sororophobia designates the complex and shifting relations between women’s attempts to identify with other women and their often simultaneous desire to establish and retain difference” (definition in quotations is from a review on the book Sororophobia by Helena Michie on “Oxford University Press: Australia & New Zealand” website).

In class today, we discussed some themes that are in Silver Sparrow and the first one that popped into my head was “fear of sisters,” a.k.a. sororophobia; the second was “duality.” However, these themes are not exactly more than one word, but I still think they are very pertinent to the novel.

Duality, Chaurisse and Dana are foils in the text; they are what the other sister could have been; they have key aspects in common, but these common aspects are used in a way to emphasize their differences. The first half of the book is about one and the second half is about the other. This duality showcases quite nicely the theme: sororophobia.

James tells Dana to not go near Chaurisse; she cannot participate in the same school/the weekend activity as Chaurisse; in relation to Chaurisse, Dana does not have as much access to her father and he also does not provide for her and Gwen as much as he does for Laverne and Chaurisse, which overall creates jealousy.

Chaurisse is raised in a household that revolves around beauty—Laverne’s beauty salon. At an early age, Chaurisse realizes that she is not what is considered naturally beautiful, but “beauty in a jar” and she becomes obsessed with the idea of gaining some of that natural beauty (which also encompasses movement and attitude) by being around “silver girls.”

Jones seems to set up a reality where actual sisters are not able to love one another, but instead are jealous. These jealous tendencies are not “natural,” but instead are created by their father and society’s institution of beauty.


One thought on “Duality and Sororophobia

  1. I also think that there is a lot of pressure on women in general not to love each other, but to be jealous. Women are constantly competing with one another a failing to see their alliance.

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