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Title:From exile to transcendence: racial mixture and the journey of revision in the works of Lydia Maria Child, Hannah Crafts, Kate Chopin, James Weldon Johnson, and Jean Toomer
Author(s):Lynch, Suzanne M.
Director of Research:Foote, Stephanie
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Foote, Stephanie
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Deck, Alice; Somerville, Siobhan B.; Nelson, Cary
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
racial trancendence
racial plurality
racial subjectivity
home and family
Abstract:My study, entitled From Exiles to Transcendences focuses on five authors: Lydia Maria Child, Hannah Crafts, Kate Chopin, James Weldon Johnson, and Jean Toomer. It examines each author’s effort to represent the mixed-race character as a constant “process of becoming” (Hall, Questions of Identity 4). This study aims to convey the distinctiveness of the American mixed-race character in American literature and to provide a thorough reading of how this distinctiveness is portrayed and sustained throughout the scope of the selected texts. My dissertation identifies the mixed-race voice as experientially distinct from other American raced voices while acknowledging the mixed-race character as one who demonstrates a connectedness to a plurality of racial cultures. The following chapters span a period of approximately 100 years and illustrate a common concern among them, albeit from differing perspectives and influences, regarding how home and family function as fluid spaces of racial subjectivity. My study maintains a position that the above authors questioned the presumed irreversibility of an entrenched understanding of family ties; that they challenged and rescripted the historically defined self with a self that privileges experience and discovery over pre-given identities; and that they depicted their characters as evolving subjects who created themselves with name and identity as they moved toward their “process of becoming.”
Issue Date:2010-05-14
Rights Information:Copyright 2010 Suzanne M. Lynch
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-05-14
Date Deposited:2010-05

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