A Home for Hannah Crafts: Ecofeminism in The Bondwoman’s Narrative

Christina J. Lambert, Baylor University
Vol. 41, No. 1 (Spring 2022), 45-63

This article examines The Bondwoman’s Narrative, a slave narrative written in the 1850s and attributed to Hannah Crafts, from an ecofeminist perspective to explore the relationship between the human and nonhuman in the text. Drawing upon the growing field of African American environmental criticism, it analyzes the ways in which language reveals sympathy between the narrator and the nonhuman world in their mutual oppression while also challenging the dehumanizing effects of this link. In this reading, the much-criticized final scene describing Hannah’s home becomes the means for Hannah to express her agency and personhood, symbolizing her distinction from the “wildness” that men have used to exploit her and other marginalized women in the text. Ultimately, Hannah’s expression of justice comes in the form of a house. Analyzing The Bondwoman’s Narrative in light of a contemporary lens like ecofeminism reinterprets the text’s ending but also contributes an essential perspective to ecofeminism, illustrating the need to diversify the textual analyses that underpin theoretical lenses.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]