Dissertation
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The Black Fashioning Their Own History

Author LiuSong
Tutor ZouTao
School University of Electronic Science and Technology
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Toni Morrison Sula New Historicism self-fashioning
CLC I712.074
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
Downloads 22
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Sula, published in1973, is one of the masterpieces of Toni Morrison who is the famous American female black writer. This novel describes profound changes in one of the American black blocks from the1920s to the1960s. Racial and gender issues are discussed in Sula, which constructs a period of history for the black people.Toni Morrison, the Nobel Prize receiver in1993, is the only black female who received such honor. Most of Morrison’s works, focusing the themes on race, gender and self, describe the process in which the black people seek their identity and use strategies to survive in the complicated social environment. Sula, the second novel of Morrison, is also true to the preceding. This novel depicts the profound changes in the black community named as Bottom with Sula as the protagonist. Most of the current research on Sula is focusing on Feminism to analyze the females who bear the suffering from the white people and males in both physical and psychological aspects. The power relationships, the power operation mode and the interactive connection between text and history have not attract due attention.This thesis employs the self-fashioning theory in New Historicism to analyze the process and strategies in which the black people in Sula arouse the independence consciousness, fashion themselves and create their own history and it is pointed that the black people in Sula successfully fashion themselves. New Historicism discusses the relationship between text and history, and its reprehensive idea goes as "texuality of histories and historicity of texts". Stephen Greenblatt advocates the "self-fashioning" to explore how the individuals fashion their identification in the power operation mode. This thesis is divided into five chapters.Chapter one presents the general introduction to Toni Morrison and the novel Sula, literature review on Sula and the self-fashioning in New Historicism.Chapter two puts forward the idea that the black females are using both physical and psychological aspects to fight against the oppression from the white people and the males so as to fashion their identification. The four female characters in Sula are talked to analyze the hard process for female self-fashioning and how Morrison rebuilds the new black females.Chapter three points the idea that the black veterans are fashioning their identity in face of discrimination and oppression by analyzing the black veterans Shadrack and Plum.Chapter four states the viewpoint that Morrison describes the process in which the black people fashion themselves by arranging the time line. In the years from1919to1965, the strong voices of the black take the whole and completely control and promote the development of the plot, whereas the white are in their silence in the text of Sula. The self-fashioning of the black is characterized by group sense.Chapter five concludes the viewpoints of the previous chapters. It is pointed that Sula is the history that is fashioned by the black from the perspective of New Historicism. The subjectivity of the black is truly presented in the text. Literature and history are reconnected and they become binary interactive carriers.

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