PJAS 13-8

Patrycja Antoszek
The Neo-Gothic Imaginary and the Rhetoric of Loss in Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad
Polish Journal for American Studies, vol. 13 (Autumn 2019), pp. 271-279

Abstract:The aim of my paper will be to discuss the African-American reworking of the Gothic tradition in Colson Whitehead’s neo-slave narrative. I want to argue that the figure of the protagonist Cora may be seen as the embodiment of losses that span over generations of black women. Cora’s melancholia is a strategy of dealing with the horrors of slavery and a sign of a black woman’s failed entry into the Symbolic. While the novel’s narrative technique is a symbol of the ever-present past that haunts black subjectivity, the underground railroad may be read as a metaphor for the repressed content of American national unconscious.

keywords: African-American gothic, loss, melancholia, slavery, affect

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