Heavy things: materiality and masculinity in African American literature

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Scott Thomas Gibson (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
SallyAnn Ferguson

Abstract: Heavy Things illustrates how African American writers redefine black manhood through metaphors of heaviness, figured primarily through their representation of material objects. Taking the literal and figurative weight the narrator's briefcase in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man as a starting point, this dissertation examines literary representations of "heavy" objects, including gifts, toys, keepsakes, historical documents, statues, and souvenirs as modes of critiquing the materialist foundations of manhood in the United States. Historically, materialism has facilitated white male domination over black men by associating property ownership with both whiteness and manhood. These writers not only reject materialism as a vehicle of oppression but also reveal alternative paths along which black men can thrive in a hostile American society.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2014
African American, Invisible man, Literature, Manhood, Masculinity, Materialism
American literature $x African American authors $x History and criticism
African American men in literature
Race in literature
Masculinity in literature
Materialism in literature

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