Tina McElroy Ansa's "Ugly Ways" and "Taking After Mudear": Mother-daughter psychological diasporas




Whitney, Melissa Sue Romweber

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Tina McElroy Ansa's novel Ugly Ways has hardly received any critical attention and now that she has published her sequel Taking After Mudear, I found it necessary to take a closer look at both of the novel. None of the critical articles that have been written about Ugly Ways deal with Ansa's usage of the old and new black middle-class, and neither do they analyze the in-depth damage Mudear had done to her three daughters through psychologically exiling them. I am analyzing Ansa's two novels with the help of Freud's personality structure theory and Lacan's and Chodorow's interpretation of the Oedipus complex which enables me to portray an insight into Ansa's portrayal of mother-daughter relationships that has not been available before.

I will analyze Ansa's Ugly Ways and Taking After Mudear using a psychoanalytical approach to analyze the mother-daughter relationship at hand, and on how the use of the old/new black-middle class as a major theme allows Ansa to focus on independent female characters who have the leisure time for reflection. Moreover, the use of the black-middle class also aids Ansa in dramatizing the psychological diaspora of the daughters, enabling her to portray the benefits as well as the disadvantages a new black middle-class status brings to the African-American culture.


This item is available only to currently enrolled UTSA students, faculty or staff. To download, navigate to Log In in the top right-hand corner of this screen, then select Log in with my UTSA ID.


African-American, black middle-class, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Taking After Mudear, Tina McElroy Ansa, Ugly Ways