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History, Identity, Trauma and Narratives in Toni Morrison's Beloved in relation to "Black Lives Matter" (BLM)
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This is a study of African-American traumas in Toni Morrison's Beloved in relation to the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM). It attempts to explore those stances in the two modes of narrative that impede the justice and peace for African-Americans within particular historical and social contexts.

Based on trauma theory by Cathy Caruth, the essay explains the physical and mental wound left by trauma. Instances from the novel have been analyzed to show how bodies are inscribed, literally and metaphorically, by the oppressor to enforce his identity on people of color. Those markers testify to the agonies of the past, contribute to the process of selfdiscovery and support the idea that the past is alive in the present. It was also significant to show the effect of the wound of the mind on individuals and communities. The mental wound, which comes later as a response to the violent events, is unhealable and unbearable. Therefore, the essay shows that there is no completed panacea for traumatized African- Americans who suffer the mental wound and lose their control over their present life. It has been one of the basic concerns of this study to underscore the role of trauma narratives in reconstructing (hi)story in order to attain self-discovery and reconstruct new realities, subjectivities and identities. Through Stuart Hall's argument, it was also important to assert that identity is not a static concept or a one dimensional question. It alters as history does and shifts as positions do.

The study shows that although Beloved and BLM are two different modes of narrative, they have the same aim of depicting the mental and physical wounds of African-Americans in order to reveal the truth and affect their audience. It was also important to show that both Morrison and BLM assert the continuity of African-American traumas and systematic racism in the U.S. America. African-Americans remained the object of oppression, violence and racism after the Civil War and the Reconstruction Era and are even so today.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 37 p.
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-30595OAI: diva2:948421
Subject / course
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2016-07-12 Created: 2016-07-11 Last updated: 2016-07-14Bibliographically approved

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