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Literatures: Representations of Gender, Race and Sexuality in the USA

Questions

Valerie Martin has spoken of the ‘the fantastic and constant perversity of the oppressor to feel victimized by the oppressed’. Discuss attitudes towards oppression in these novels. Who believes themselves to be oppressed, and in what ways?


Readings

Faulkner, William, Absalom, Absalom!, Vintage (London, 1995 [1936]).

Lee, Harper, To Kill a Mockingbird, Heinemann (London, 1966 [1960]).

Martin, Valerie, Property, Abacus (London, 2003).

Morrison, Toni, Beloved, Vintage (London, 2007 [1987]).

Toomer, Jean, Cane, Liveright (New York, 1993 [1923]).


Commentary

Scott, Anne Firor, ‘Women in the South: History as Fiction, Fiction as History’, in Rewriting the South: History and Fiction, eds. Lothar Hönnighausen and Valeria Gennaro Lerda (Tübingen, 1993).