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Post-colonial Study of Song of Solomon

Author WuQiong
Tutor MaLiLi
School Hebei Normal
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Postcolonial Theory Marginalized Other Racial Identity Cultural Identity Hybrid Culture
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
Downloads 137
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Toni Morrison is the most prominent Afro-American woman author of the 20th century and the brightest star in contemporary African-American literary area. In 1993, as the first Afro-American author, Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize for literature. Being a black woman, Toni Morrison contributes to various commentaries on her novels from all kinds of perspectives. She breaks the silence on black culture, a civilization that exists underneath the American cultural mainstream. And she keeps reflecting and exploring the Afro-American history, fate and spiritual world.Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison’s representative and third novel, varied from her other novels which focus on female protagonists, describes a male protagonist. Through the depiction of Milkman, the representative of middle-class black young men, Morrison incisively shows modern black Americans’oscillation, bitterness, ignorance and confusion derived from their rootless underneath the mainstream congesting with the racial segregation and discrimination. Besides, Morrison attempts to discover a way for black people to survive as a race in modern American society.The thesis illustrates the theme of Song of Solomon. Morrison believes on Afro-Americans, their identity and culture --- the root of self-affirmation in reality, searches Afro-Americans’cultural identity, reveal the heritage of African culture to modern black Americans and what values it affirms and rejects, also emphasizes the importance of Afro-Americans’awareness and acceptance of their history and their cultural past.Based on the postcolonial perspective, this thesis is intended to discuss that the Afro-Americans tend to subvert gender identity, reclaim racial identity, and inherit black culture. This thesis reveals that if Afro-Americans intend to bring themselves out of the predicament and reconstruct their cultural identity, they must eliminate racialism, struggle for equal rights and freedom, dissolve the white’s cultural hegemony and renovate and spread the culture and the tradition of Afro-Americans. The thesis includes five parts:The introduction introduces Morrison and her literature achievements, the content of Song of Solomon, the literature review, and the postcolonial theory. The first chapter analyses the dual oppressions the black female suffers as well as their revolt in the novel. In the novel there are six main female characters. They are Pilate, Hagar, Ruth, Reba, First Corinthians and Lena. All of them are abandoned by the black and white male except Pilate who plays the role of‘pilot’to help other black women win their identity.The second chapter discusses the black American race confusion first. Then with the course of Milkman’s root exploration as background, it points out that Afro-Americans must retrieve their own race status.The third chapter investigates the attitude toward Caucasian culture and the values of two opposition’s roles:Pilate and Macon Jr.. They are completely different in treating the values. Macon Jr. who has denied the black’s culture becomes a cultural orphan and loses his self. From the role Pilate, we can see a spokesperson of African culture, a guardian of family history, a storyteller of Black ancestors. Pilate has passed the Black values to the next generation. Morrison allows the readers comprehend if we want to develop the national culture, we must maintain one kind of dialectical relation between the traditional culture and the modern culture, namely the heterozygous culture. Form the novel we can see that only by inheriting their ancestor’s traditional culture and the values can the blacks win self-achievement.The conclusion summarizes the thesis view point and further affirms the subject of the entire thesis. Namely if the blacks intend to develop their unique culture,they must undergo several stages: subverting gender identity, reclaiming racial identity, and embracing a hybrid culture.

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