"Creating something else to be" : negotiating African American female subjectivities in Toni Morrison's Sula, Beloved, and Jazz : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in English at Massey University

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Massey University
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Toni Morrison's novels, Sula, Beloved, and Jazz delineate the struggles of African American women to attain subject positions in a society where blackness and femaleness mark them as 'others,' and where women are objectified in the male pursuit of subjectivity. Negotiation of a variety of psychoanalytic and feminist theories in reading these texts demonstrates the complexities of African American female subjectivities, and the difficulties of achieving representation of them within a patriarchal and racist order. Morrison's themes and narrative techniques foreground the political implications of acts of reading, writing, and representation, and envisage female subjectivities which disrupt dominant narratives of identity, gender and race. These subjectivities cannot be wholly represented within the dominant order without appropriation, but can be glimpsed as mobile and multiple subjectivities which refuse the masculine economy's structures, and break open prevailing narratives to imagine a female subjective space beyond patriarchal culture, and to re-imagine African American female narratives of self.
Morrison, Toni -- Criticism and interpretation, Morrison, Toni. Sula, Morrison, Toni. Beloved, Morrison, Toni. Jazz, African American women -- In literature