Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Louis Tremaine

Second Advisor

Dr. John Marx


Ezekial Mphahlele in Down Second Avenue and Mongane Serote in To Every Birth Its Blood use the function of memory as a narrative strategy to illuminate the evolution of individual black consciousness. Mphahlele's novel is autobiographical, investigating the chronological memory of Zeke as his consciousness evolves. Serote's work is a collection of stories investigating several characters whose individual experiential memories create a collective consciousness. For Zeke in Down Second Avenue and the characters in To Every Birth Its Blood, memory is an active device which can recall apartheid experience in order to heighten black consciousness and analyze the current sociopolitical condition. Memory, therefore, becomes a functional tool for mediating apartheid experiences and enacting change.