Term of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Literature and Philosophy

Committee Chair

Richard Flynn

Committee Member 1

Caren Town

Committee Member 2

David Dudley


For Lorde, identity rests in the power of one’s voice; in that having a voice gives one the agency not only to confidently reaffirm one’s personal identity, but to speak against oppressors who endeavor to keep voices silent. In Lorde’s poetry, she addresses those who stand at the margins of society. Lorde states that poetry is a “vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action” (Sister Outsider xi). Lorde’s poetry concerns itself with the intersectionality of identity, marginalization, silence as well as the ways in which these forces interact and affect us in our lives. In my thesis, I explore the formation of identity, using Audre Lorde’s prose and poetry as the foundation for discussing how the intersectionality of race, sex, and sexual orientation contributes to identity and the process of its formation. I discuss, most specifically, the plight that African-American women with non-heteronormative identities face because of the triple marginalization they experience by being women, African-American, and same-sex attracted.