Orginal Publication Date
Explorations in Ethnic Studies
Deck's critical essay is a thoughtful and welcome commentary on the interrelationship between age, generational conflict and changing social standards as portrayed in literature about or by American blacks. The author discusses several important ways in which elderly are represented as mythic figures who embody personal experiential wisdom and a community's cultural and historical heritage; as advisors, story tellers or sages who have acquired an air of reverence, the ability to endure and the means to impart the wisdom of the ages, and as the sometimes difficult, infirm or hostile representatives of another generation who would impose different, if not conflicting, social or moral standards upon the young. While these characteristics are attributed commonly, if not universially [universally], to the elderly in North American society, Deck's analysis of elderly blacks in literature seems to be equally concerned with the status of the total black community, both within itself, and as it interacts with or is perceived by whites.
Copyright, ©EES, The National Association for Ethnic Studies, 1985