What is a Victory? The Results of War and Legal Defeat in Faulkner

“The South lost the Civil War and we’ve never recovered as a nation from that. There’s this angry white guy mentality that’s never gone away. They’re bitter and they want white people to rule the world.” – Eric Andre

“I would sell my mother into slavery to see a movie called V for Vendetta Part II. Okay guys, people took over. What would they have done a day later? How would they re-organize the power? The same state, how would they restructure the power?” – Slavoj Žižek

At the end of The Lord of the Rings, Frodo drops the One Ring into the fires of Mordor and ends the threat of Sauron and his army; Middle Earth enters a new era and, in the film version in particular, there is a sense of peace, love and friendship which permeates the lives of every character. At the end of The Matrix: Revolutions, the humans and machines—after centuries of fighting with each other—reach a truce and develop, we understand, a respect for one another—celebrated by Michael Popper enthusiastically screaming out to a group of terrified humans, “the war is over!” Not to dismiss the multitude of layers which can be found in each of these works of fiction, this is a trope we’re familiar with: the story wraps up, the conflict is resolved, the musical score reaches a crescendo and everything is right in the world. Similarly, in 2005’s film adaptation of V for Vendetta, V accomplishes his goals, blows up parliament and an endless crowd of masked supporters of the cause to overthrow the tyrannical government signal to the viewer that change is coming, and for the better. The victory narrative continues—but as Slavoj Žižek once asked regarding the ending of this film: “What would they have done a day later?”

Perhaps William Faulkner’s The Unvanquished provides an answer for this, and it’s not one that would necessarily fill seats in a theater—or at least wouldn’t allow anyone to feel good after leaving the movie. Despite the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Confederate troops in the Civil War, the reality, as Faulkner illustrates in “Skirmish at Sartoris” is that the Confederacy doesn’t necessarily die. The Emancipation is not the destruction of the One True Ring, the end of the Civil War doesn’t bring about a change of heart for those who saw Black people as inferior—it only shifts the legal structures and when Ringo says that Blacks aren’t “n——, in Jefferson nor nowhere else” the answer to Žižek’s question emerges: the war doesn’t end—what happens next is the realization that the war “just started good” (Faulkner 199).

Legally, the war ends. This is what is meant Eric Andre says that the “South lost the Civil War.” But the reality is, as Faulkner’s narrative portrays, that Andre’s “angry white guy mentality” remains, and this is the true law, the law which placed Black people into bondage in the first place (Darville). The Civil War doesn’t erase the desire to see “white people rule the world,” because that desire cannot be distilled into some simple binary opposition of the kind that we typically see in war films, both of the fantasy and realistic variety. It is not a magical object to be burnt and removed from the world, it is not a villain who can be vanquished and written out of the script moving forward. Faulkner tells us this in “Skirmish at Sartoris” in the most cynical of ways by placing a wedding in the midst of a racist seizure of an election, preventing Blacks from voting. In this moment, the delusion of the Right to naturalize oppression, to bake it into its legal structure, is signaled through a wedding, a swearing-in of sorts, a celebration of bride and groom with the “Yaaaaay, Druisilla! […] Yaaaaaay, John Sartoris! Yaaaaaaay!” (Faulkner 210). Andre’s “angry white guy mentality” lives on through the wedding as a symbol of a return to a natural way of things for the Confederacy, and in this way they don’t so much as lose, as they make an attempt to defy, to rebel (Darville). It is a Ring that refuses to melt, a tyrannical overlord who refuses to vanish from the page, two sides of a war who refuse to agree even after the bullets stop flying. Faulkner gets us asking the kinds of questions Žižek asks at the end of V for Vendetta, and it provides an answer: What happens next is that the losing side refuses to lose.

Through The Unvanquished we can, perhaps, alter our conversation about the Civil War and speak with greater nuance about the cultural and ideological actions which take place after weapons are laid down (or at least the weapons aimed between white people, not the weapons still aimed at Blacks and minorities). Perhaps it becomes more effective to say that Civil War never truly “ended,” as some have chosen to do when speaking of nuclear disarmament in the context of the Cold War. Perhaps we need to be more clear about what ends after events such as the Civil War: Legal institutions may shift, but the underlying ideological impulse remains, and until we address that and its origins, we may end stuck with an eternal legacy of racism which no mere illusion of a “fellowship” can dissolve.

Works Cited

Faulkner, William. The Unvanquished. Vintage International, 1991.

Darville, Jordan. “Eric Andre Is Insanely Honest Because Who Else Is Going To Be?” The FADER, The FADER, 8 Nov. 2017, www.thefader.com/2016/10/26/eric-andre-interview.

Žižek, Slavoj. “Slavoj Žižek: Why There Are No Viable Political Alternatives to Unbridled Capitalism.” YouTube, YouTube, 27 Nov. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7JgfB8PaAk.

Performative Allyship in Native Son: Handshakes and Safety Pins

About three or four years ago, various posts—original and shared—made their way through my social media streams; celebrities and friends of mine, all white like myself, had gotten it in their head that a way to creating safer spaces for those among us we condensed into the monolithic phrase “people of color,” was to openly wear a safety pin on our clothing, letting anyone know that they were “safe with us.”

I’ll confess to the reality that I gave into this for about a week. I punctured a pocket flap of my denim jacket with an obnoxiously large safety pin and went about daily life, attended some political protests, went to work, school, etc; the size of this thing reminded me of a production of The Glass Menagerie I had once heard of where the utensils used for the dinner scenes were exaggerated in size to give the sense that it was all a dream, a memory. Perhaps it was a combination of this memory, an observation of other white people I knew who were doing this and the way I felt around black and brown people I knew that keyed me in to the negative aspect of what I was doing, topped off with articles and blog posts I had come across from minority perspectives about the effect this was having: I was making the conversation about me, about me being white and about me performing a kind of allyship to make myself feel better without considering what the gesture meant.

This is what came to mind through a reading of Native Son. Jan, who arguably does wish to create a safe space for Bigger when they meet, comes from a place where he considers the reality, or at least a part of the reality, of racism and wants to create a safe space for Bigger. It’s hard to read this scene, however, with any sense that the actions are comforting for Bigger or are at all changing the power dynamics between a white and black person—let alone giving sincere contemplation to the reality of them. Jan’s handshake comes with a demand, “Come on and shake” he says and continues to “tighten” his fingers and hold on to Bigger’s hand (Wright). The scene is one of discomfort; the interiority of it reveals a nervous state in Bigger’s mind, he’s not sure what to do with Jan’s demands that he not “say sir” to him and Mary’s insistence that Jan “means it” does nothing (Wright). These actions, if anything, remind Bigger of his otherness, making him “conscious of his black skin [creating] a prodding conviction that Jan and men like him had made it so that he would be conscious of that black skin” (Wright).

Jan is, in effect, making this space about him, making it about gestures that absolve him of any guilt he may carry over his role in the system of racism. He doesn’t realize that though the words and the actions are shifted, the commands are still the same: he’s still commanding Bigger’s body and speech—he’s not allowing a space to exist where Bigger can be who he is. This is what reminds me so much of the issues surrounding the safety pins; my realization was in fact that I was demanding a kind of attention by this gesture, and the reality was that of the white people who I knew who still continued to do this, none of them were asking these questions; in fact, the safety pin allowed things to continue as they were, it was the least amount of minimal effort, a gesture of “desperate, [cheap] sincerity” as Baldwin might put it (Baldwin 23). These performative gestures did nothing to address the “badge of shame” which Bigger carries on his skin, and it, in its most destructive sense, created a “single sharp point of attention” of otherness among whiteness (Wright). It was an empty, performative gesture which made the conversation about what white people were doing, not about the ways in which we were creating harmful spaces in the first place.

Works Cited

Baldwin, James. Just Above My Head. Delta Trade Paperbacks, 2000.

Wright, Richard. Native Son. Harper, 2008.

Annotated Bibliography

1.) Baldwin, jamesEverybody’s Protest Novel. africanamericanrhet.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/jamesbaldwinprotestnovel.pdf. 

Baldwin questions the way Wright has both whites and Blacks view themselves in the text. He thinks they see things similarly and that a Black man wouldn’t have such different ideas about what is going on around him. He believes the issue is they are living in the same world and therefore Blacks are more pressured to believe the racial stereotypes and ideologies. Therefore, he believes that it is because Bigger believes these things and denies himself as well that he comes to his fall. This would be interesting to incorporate because it pertains to the film since I want to argue that there is less separation when it comes to race. Bigger appears to be more open rather than isolate himself in conversation like he does in the book. Their ideologies appear to be more similar in the film. 

2.) Ebiri, Bilge. “Native Son Breathes Life Into One of Literature’s Most Heartbreaking Characters.” Vulture, Vulture, 27 Jan. 2019, www.vulture.com/2019/01/sundance-2019-native-son-review.html. 

The vulture does a great job at revealing the importance of movement. The review suggests that Bigger is often shown confined or struggling to carry things. This captures his immobility in the movie since he feels as if his options are limited. However, it does introduce his dancing and swaying which I think would be more beneficial to analyze because I think Bigger is looser and more open in the film. He feels more free to talk and more confident in himself than in the text and to study his swaying and walk would be interesting because it adds onto that idea and it is something that Wright does not discuss in the text.  

3.) Gleiberman, Owen. “Sundance Film Review: ‘Native Son’.” Variety, 26 Jan. 2019, variety.com/2019/film/reviews/native-son-review-sundance-film-festival-1203117692/. 

This review uses his style in the film to analyze the way the directors chose to depict him. For instance, he wears a lot of vibrant colors, trendy pieces, and has a stylish but “gangster” look. This article suggests that his clothing is a big key in his character because the writer argues in the movie he is more relaxed and less abstract. However, this made me question the exact opposite as well because I’d argue his style could be seen as a bit louder and less relaxed, especially since in the film he is more direct when speaking with Jan and Mary. There also seems to be less intrusion into his life since he is bolder in the movie. Although, the text does propose that by having Bigger dress so different, it highlights his diffculty to fit in. 

4.) McCarthy, Todd. “’Native Son’: Film Review | Sundance 2019.” The Hollywood Reporter, 7 Mar. 2019, www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/native-son-review-1179317 

The Hollywood Reporter comments that the movie does not resolve or reveal all the issues in the book which s what I want to argue. While it also comments on style, it looks at it through a similar lens that I’m using because the reviewer argues that Bigger’s slim frame and attention to style contradicts his description in the book that he was a thug paying closer detail to more important things. The review also comments on his fluidity with social boundaries which completely contradicts Wright’s stance.  

5.) Canfield-Fisher Introduction. Richard Wright, Native Son 

The example of the rat is very symbolic and relevant to the movie because it forces me to reanalyze the way I look at mobility in the film. While some reviewers seem to disagree on this concept, I am influenced to see Bigger’s movement and fluidity in the film as similar to the lab rat. While he is trying to move and rush into things, he is inevitably getting stuck or crashing into things. This continues to occur until it hurts him psychologically and he falls to his death. This source allows me to look at the argument from both sides and will help me develop a stronger argument because I originally thought his social behavior and the dynamics were too loose and fluid in the novel but it could be due to all the probing and outside factors like the lab rat who is ultimately not free. 

These sources allow me to take a closer look at the way Bigger’s character is developed throughout the film in comparison to the novel. It is evident that there are many changes ranging from how he walks and dresses to the way he interacts with white characters. The racial divisions seem to a bit more blurred in the film since Bigger and other characters find it less difficult to cross. The tensions do not appear to be as destructive in the film.  


(Sorry I could not post last night! I had trouble with my network connection all day yesterday and finally had someone come in to fix it today)

Annotated Bib

Baker, Houston A., Baker, Houston A, Alexander, Elizabeth, and Redmond, Patricia. Workings of the Spirit : The Poetics of Afro-American Women’s Writing. Chicago: U of Chicago, 1991. Print. Black Literature and Culture.
• This book evaluates black female writing and its relation to Afro American intellectual history. It also deals with the folkloric and spiritual aspect of female black resistance writing. This is relevant to my writing in that it connects the figure of the conjure woman and folklore into the literary tradition of black female resistance writers.
Chesnutt, Charles W. The Conjure Woman. 1st Ed.].. ed. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan, 1969. Print. Ann Arbor Paperbacks.
• This is Charles Chestnuts book of short stories that includes the figure of the conjure woman and serves a text that resists certain tropes about blackness and inscriptive practice. In my Project I hope to use this source material to analyze the conjure figures and explore why chestnut uses this figure and folklore aspects to deliver his message.
Ichile Hanks, Iyelli. “Black Magic Woman: Towards a Theory of Africana Women’s Resistance.” Journal of Pan African Studies 5.1 (2012): 265. Web.
• This article details a history of black female resistance. It looks at how traditional and folkloric aspects contributed to black female resistance throughout history and developed into its own phenomenon. The section about the priestess and conjure woman in society is useful for my project in that it gives historical context to this figure while also connecting it to the tradition of black female resistance.
Marina, Brenda, and Debora Fonteneau. “Servant Leaders Who Picked Up the Broken Glass.” The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online) 5.2 (2012): 67-83. Web.
• This article focuses on how Black woman use spirituality and historical spiritual leaders to break glass ceilings in academia. This connects to my research in that it shows how modern women evoke the folk and the essence of the conjure woman to resist and promote change.
Pryse, Marjorie, and Spillers, Hortense J. Conjuring : Black Women, Fiction, and Literary Tradition. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1985. Print. Everywoman.
• This novel directly deals with the literary traditions of black female writers and the history surrounding it. It connects these writers to folkloric aspects and their ability to conjure. This relates to my project in that it explores how the literary tradition extends into the spiritual and makes the black woman writer become a new kind of conjurer
Rucker, Walter. “Conjure, Magic, and Power: The Influence of Afro-Atlantic Religious Practices on Slave Resistance and Rebellion.” Journal of Black Studies 32.1 (2001): 84-103. Web.
• This article also provides background on the conjure figure within history and connects the figure of the conjure woman to resistance. This is significant in that it pays close attention to how the conjure women were able to play their resistant roles and form the essence that powers resistance for black women.
Samuel, Kameelah. “CHARLES CHESNUTT AND THE LEGACY OF THE CONJURE WOMAN.” Studies in the Literary Imagination 43.2 (2010): 15-30,140-141. Web.
• This article analyzes the stories and the figure of the conjure woman in the text. It looks at the figure and folkloric practices and evaluates why chestnut decides to use this figure for his short stories and collection title. This contributes to my project in that it explores why this figure would be evoked by a writer trying to write a resistant text and shows the importance of including black female energy in resistance.

Native Son vs Native Son Annotative Bibliography

Wright, Richard. Native Son. Library of America, 1998.

I use Native Son novel in order to show the differences the movie has from it. I use it to show how some aspects of the film didn’t quite hit their mark compared to the book, and how some things are completely left out of the film some might consider very crucial to the story.

Johnson, Rashid. Native Son Film. HBO, 2019

I use Native Son novel in order to show the differences the movie has from it. I use it to show how some aspects of the film didn’t hit their mark compared to the book, and how some things are completely left out of the film some might consider very crucial to the story.

Freedman, Jerrold. Native Son film 1986.

I Use Native Son novel in order to show the differences the movie has from it. I use it to show how some aspects of the film didn’t hit their mark compared to the book, and how some things are completely left out of the film some might consider very crucial to the story.

Wideman, John. Native Son Novel Review. New York Times, 1976

This is a review of the novel, and i will be using this to see what people looked for in wright’s film and also what people took from it as well.

Canby, Vincent. Native Son 1986 film Review. New York Times, 2003

A review of the film Native Son from 1986 that was poorly received.

Ebert, Roger. Native Son 1986 review. Chicago Sun Times, 2000

A review of the film Native Son which was positivist received.

Tinubu, Aramide. Native Son 2019 review. AV Club, 2019.

A review of the film Native Son 2019 which was given a positive review.

Castillo, Monica. Native Son 2019 review. RogerEbert.com 2019.

A review of the film Native Son 2019 which was poorly received.


Layers of the Self: Annotated Bibliography

  • Balaram, Arita. “(Re)Theorizing Hybridity for the Study of Identity and Difference.” Social & Personality Psychology Compass, vol. 12, no. 10, Oct. 2018, p. N.PAG. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/spc3.12413.

How do “assimilation and nation-building” work through cultural imperialism to create “racialized hierarchies” that affect and construct one’s sense of self (Balaram 2)? I will be using this source as a means of answering this question while utilizing Balaram’s methods and research to understand “new identities and subjectivity [emerge] from colonization and continued projects of racial domination” (Balaram 2). Balaram’s discussions of politics, history and the “hybrid subject” will be helpful in creating a perspective for viewing the construction of identity.

  • Farrugia, Jack P., et al. “‘It Is Usually about the Triumph of the Coloniser’: Exploring Young People’s Conceptualisations of Australian History and the Implications for Australian Identity.” Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, vol. 28, no. 6, Nov. 2018, pp. 483–494. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1002/casp.2381.

As outlined in its abstract, this piece goes into the ways in which whites “reconstruct Australian history to silence the mistreatment of Indigienous Australians […] to favour the coloniser perspective” and that “this reconstructed history is typically accepted uncritically” (Farrugia et al. 483). I’m very interested in using this piece in tandem with the themes of historical narratives in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished. Similar to the Garratt piece, while this is a source that looks at a context outside of America and the black experience, it does focus on how “identity is shaped by [specific] ideals” (Farrugia et al 485). Its critical look into how “understanding and experiences of racism” factor into a historical basis for “identity development” (Farrugia 485, 490).

  • Faulkner, William. The Unvanquished. Vintage Digital, 2013.

Faulkner’s portrayal of the late 19th Century south will serve to provide more American context for the discussion of the historical legacy of slavery and racism and its ties to the cultural and political realms of white America.

  • Garratt, Lindsey. “Doubly Estranged: Racism, the Body and Reflection.” Ethnic & Racial Studies, vol. 40, no. 4, Mar. 2017, pp. 617–635. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/01419870.2016.1206589.

In one of my two sources which step outside of an American context, Garratt’s research on how “young migrant group boys in Dublin’s north inner city suffer from a break with their embodied selves” (Garratt 617). This research is helpful when considering the effects of racialization on children’s “embodied perspective [which is] at the heart of a child’s identity” (Garratt 620). Garratt’s exploration of how racialization can be observed to have an effect on boys’ ability to play soccer, and how this form of play “[constructs] masculinities” and specifically how “racialized masculinities” affect the “identity associated with the body” is helpful in analyzing what is otherwise an innocent, staple of life–sports. I will use the information gathered from this Irish context and will apply it to an American one through the works of Claudia Rankine, Richard Wright and William Faulkner.

  • Nama, Adilifu. Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film. University of Texas Press, 2008.

I am including this source as I think it will provide a unique take on the portrayal and understanding of black identity in media, and a very specific form of media: that of the kinds of fantastical Science Fiction films and will attempt to connect this to themes in Wright’s novel concerning Bigger’s interest in film and media. I am choosing this specifically since it deals with fantastical realms of science fiction which, one might assume, are so removed from present day reality, that they might not carry with it the mechanisms of racism that can, as many of my other sources demonstrate, shape one’s understanding of history and their place in it. Nama’s work highlights very specific films, but I will largely work with a more broad understanding of how “SF films [engage] America’s cultural urges, political yearnings, and ideological dispositions” and how even when we’re talking about alternate realities, we are still very much talking about this one and are still talking and communicating messages of race which carry with it the abilities to shape an understanding of identity and history (Nama 3).

  • Rankine, Claudia. Citizen: an American Lyric. Penguin, 2015.

Rankine’s work is of particular interest to me as it deals with a very personal perspective on the formative powers of racism and oppression. I am particularly interested in connecting her use of the second person perspective to much of the dominating messages of oppression that are highlighted in other sources. I am very interested in using her perspectives on media in a modern context both in her book and on her website.

  • Seaton, Eleanor K., and Masumi Iida. “Racial Discrimination and Racial Identity: Daily Moderation among Black Youth.” American Psychologist, vol. 74, no. 1, Jan. 2019, pp. 117–127. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1037/amp0000367.

This dense psychological study examines how “ethnic/racial identity content consists of the meaning and significance that individuals ascribe to their ethnic/racial group” and will provide more nuts-and-bolts psychological examinations of the development of the self through racial perspectives and understandings (Seaton and Iida 117). It is concerned with the intersections of “racial/identity […], racial discrimination experiences and depressive symptoms” (Seaton and Iidia 118). I will incorporate their findings and the understanding of their methods as a mode of application more so than the raw data collection into my work.

  • Wright, Richard. Native Son. Vintage Digital, 2016.

Wright’s novel will provide an American context to understand some of the racist and oppresive mechanisms that are outlined in my other sources. I am also interested in the role media plays on Bigger and will connect this both to Rankine’s work.

  • Yancy, George. What White Looks like: African-American Philosophers on the Whiteness Question. Routledge, 2004.

Most of my resources concern the construction of the identity under siege by racism, but I believe that Yancy’s chapter will provide some analyses on the construction and function of white identity which “attempts to hide from its historicity [and] represents itself as ‘universal'” (Yancy 108). Yancys contention that a “genealogical examination of whiteness” reveals a “kind of historical emergence” which is not natural, but rather very carefully constructed. This is a dense work which I hope will give me some valuable Foucauldian and Nietzchean perspectives to balance out my other psychological and sociological sources.

My sources were the result of research to find information on how the self is constructed under forms of racist oppression through history, media and socialization. Starting with a chapter from Yancy provided by Professor Allred, I went on to find more sources ranging from psychological explorations of the manifestation of the self under racism to that of the ways in which media and history are constructed to become racist and oppressive mechanisms across different geographic and cultural contexts.

Annotated Bibliography – Chesnutt’s Depiction of Women and the “Gender Imaginary”

  • Wolff, Cynthia Griffin. “A Mirror for Men: Stereotypes of Women in Literature.” The Massachusetts Review, vol. 13, no. 1/2, 1972, pp. 205–218. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/25088222.

Although this source is pretty dated, it gives valuable insight into where the literary stereotypes of women may have come from. The author postulates that they are meant to respond to the and attend to the needs of men. Their actions are entirely dependent upon the benefit of a man within the plot of their respective narratives.

  • Brown, Pearl L., and Michele Hoffnung. “Images of Women in Psychology and Literature: An Interdisciplinary Course.” Feminist Teacher, vol. 6, no. 1, 1991, pp. 14–20. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40545594.

This collaborative article is an interdisciplinary take on the roles of women and men in Western literature. The purpose of the paper, and the college-level course developed alongside it, was “…to analyze the prevalence of sex-role stereotypes in literature and in our culture and to analyze with our students the impact of cultural assumptions about sex roles and sexual identity on women and men” (14).

  • Mohr, Janet. “Charles Chesnutt’s Women.” Short Story Criticism, ed. Lawrence J. Trudeau, vol. 241, Gale, 2017, pp. 55-64. Accessed 18 Apr. 2019.
  • Originally published in CLA Journal, vol. 49, no. 4, 2006, pp. 423-445. Found via Gale Literary Sources.

The article gives insight into the Charles W. Chesnutt’s depiction of women in literature. It may not include specifically the characters in “Po’ Sandy”, but it will be helpful to see Chesnutt’s thinking and his process (or “gender imaginary”) when writing female characters.

Annotated Bibliography – Slavery and Literacy

B., Du Bois W. E., and Patricia H. Hinchey. The Souls of Black Folk. Myers Education Press, 2018.

-Explores the idea of double consciousness and how a person of color must always remember their “place” and the company surrounding them while attempting to establish their own identity as a person of color.
Brawley. “The Negro in Literature and Art / by Benjamin Griffith Brawley.” HathiTrust, babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=umn.319510023192049;view.

-Particularly focusing on the section regarding Phyliss Wheatley and her experiences as a slave, who taught her how to read and how this effected her after the passing of her Master and his wife.
Douglass, Frederick. An American Slave: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.

– Directly chronicles his experiences as a slave.  Explains how knowing how to read and write was a blessing and a curse simultaneously for him.
Li, Stephanie. Playing in the White: Black Writers, White Subjects. Oxford University Press, 2015.

-Details a time postwar, when literature written by blacks about whites was a trend.  Shows the importance of slave literacy and how having this talent didnt help much during slavery but was a key point of success after slaves were freed.
Literacy as Freedom – Smithsonian Institution. americanexperience.si.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Literacy-as-Freedom.pdf.
-Discusses the basic laws and policies put in place during slavery that forbid slaves to acquire any educational knowledge.

Final Paper Bibliography

Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963. The Souls of Black Folk; Essays and Sketches. Chicago, A. G. McClurg, 1903. New York :Johnson Reprint Corp., 1968. Print.

The idea of double consciousness can be used in thinking about how both Bigger and RIngo felt when writing as a different race.

Faulkner, William. The Unvanquished. Vintage Books, 1991.

I will be analyzing Ringo who, as a slave, wrote orders as a white army general.

Flusser, Vilém, et al. Does Writing Have a Future? NED – New edition ed., vol. 33, University of Minnesota Press, 2011. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.cttttfvw

The tools used by each “author” are significant. I will be reading the scene where Bigger uses a knife to sharpen his pencil, and writes “asthmatically” using a Flusserian lens. Additionally, Ringo’s usage of alternate mediums to accomplish his authorship is significant to read through this lens as well.

Johnson, Barbara. The Feminist Difference: Literature, Psychoanalysis, Race, and Gender.

I read an excerpt from her analysis of Bigger’s ransom note, which was really interesting. The online preview cut off there, so I put it on hold at my library (and can update the citation once I get it).

Matthews, Kadeshia. “BLACK BOY NO MORE? VIOLENCE AND THE FLIGHT FROM BLACKNESS IN RICHARD WRIGHT’S NATIVE SON.” Modern Fiction Studies 60.2 (2014): 276-97,417. Web.

In this journal, Matthews discusses how Bigger rejects his blackness, which can be tied into Du Bois’ double consciousness.

“OLD SOUTHERN VOODOOISM.” New York Times (1857-1922) [New York, N.Y.] 1894: 20. Web.

A (somewhat racist) New York Times article that discusses slave voodooism in the south. There is a part of the article in which they mention charms to ward off the evil eye, one of which involves writing with pokeberry juice on a piece of paper. (This is a bit of a stretch, but Granny did many things out of superstition, is it so far off to assume that Ringo did the same? Even if he did not have any other tools to write with, I think it can still be somewhat significant?)

Wright, Richard, and Arnold Rampersad. Native Son: the Restored Text Established by the Library of America. Harper Perennial, 2005.

I will be analyzing Bigger’s ransom note, in addition to his infatuation with the media, specifically the newspaper articles that wrote his story for him.



Final Paper Bibliography

Gates, Henry Louis. “Writing ‘Race’ and the Difference it Makes” Critical Inquiry, Vol. 12, No. 1, University of Chicago Press (Autumn, 1985), pp. 1-20

  • Discusses literary tradition and race, which speaks to the fact that Bigger did not have a public image of himself until he got on the papers for the crime that he committed

Hager, from Word by Word: Emancipation and the Act of Writing Harvard University Press 2013

  • Discusses the relationship between writing and identity
  • Bigger creates himself in Native Son, in a way that it is comparable to writing
  • (I think I will leave out Washington, but incorporate some of Hager’s discussion about writing)

E. B. DuBois, Souls of Black Folk

  • Explains double consciousness – or the experience of living among people who have fundamentally different interactions and self-understanding because of their race
  • Bigger gives example to this in Native Son. In addition, Wright nods at Du Bois in the blindness of the characters

Wright, Richard. Black Boy. New York. HarperCollins Publishers, 2008. Print.

  • Autobiography by Wright in which he expands on an experience similar to Bigger’s in Native Son, specifically in self-creation through writing and in being used as a prop in other people’s narratives

Wright, Richard. Native Son. New York. HarperPerennial, 199. Print.

  • Shows a black man’s experience of asserting his identity within or despite the established white narrative
  • Supports Marx’s claim in Bonaparte that men write history, but within the structures of the society that they are a part of