Portraits of elderly Afroamerican men and women abound in American literature and vary from stories which present a mythic primordial character who symbolizes emotional stability, experiential wisdom and a community's cultural and historical heritage, to works in slice-of-life realistic style which dramatize the social and psychological conditions of aged blacks. Included in this second category are works which show the confrontation between old and new social standards. Coupled with this range of portraits is a variety of attitudes toward elderly blacks.

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