The American Novel Since 1945

Yale Course , Spring 2008 , Prof. Amy Hungerford

93 students enrolled

Overview

Introductions - Richard Wright, Black Boy - Flannery OConnor, Wise Blood - Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita - Guest Lecture by Andrew Goldstone - Jack Kerouac, On the Road - J. D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey - John Barth, Lost in the Funhouse - Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 - Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye - Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior - Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping - Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian - Philip Roth, The Human Stain - Edward P. Jones, The Known World - Students Choice Novel: Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated

Lecture 13: Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

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        Lecture Details

        Professor Hungerford draws a contrast between Toni Morrison and most of the writers studied up to this point in the course by pointing out how, for an African-American woman writer in particular, language is a site of violence. For all of her power to recuperate the voices of the oppressed, the novelist must be wary of the ways that breaking the silence, too, can constitute an act of invasion. As in the case of Pynchon, the word in The Bluest Eye enacts a near-physical touch; this is its pleasure and its danger. With inimitable complexity and grace, Morrison weaves her narrative around a young black girl who, in the void of her social persona, constructs a beautiful and poisonous fiction.

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