Between the Angle and the Curve: Mapping Gender, Race, by Danielle Russell

By Danielle Russell

During this examine, Russell explores the ways that Willa Cather and Toni Morrison subvert the textual expectancies of gendered geography and push opposed to the limits of the respectable canon.  As Russell demonstrates, the original depictions Cather and Morrison create of the yankee panorama problem present assertions approximately American fiction. in particular, Russell argues that the intimate connections among area, gender, race, and id as they play out within the fiction of Cather and Morrison refutes the parable of a unified American panorama and hence opens up the territory of yank fiction.

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Additional resources for Between the Angle and the Curve: Mapping Gender, Race, Space, and Identity in Willa Cather and Toni Morrison (Literary Criticism and Cultural Theory)

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Group identity, particularly for the displaced or marginalized, is often located in a shared space. Stressing the epistemological value of the physical setting, Christian makes a strong case for the importance of the land in Morrison’s novels: “the land is a participant in the maintenance of the folk tradition. It is one of the necessary constants through which the folk dramatize the meaning of life. . Setting then is organic to the characters’ view of themselves” (65). qxp 38 3/28/2006 11:18 AM Page 38 Between the Angle and the Curve and value systems; this collective experience of the environment is directly related to concepts of identity.

112). Man and mesa merge; the memory of Tom is sheltered in, and by, the land, not in the lab where he makes his portentous discovery. For Tom and the Professor, the geography of memory is both personal and historical. Recognition of the interaction of the past and present is particularly important for Americans, proposed Morrison in an interview in City Limits in 1988. ”4 Rejecting this sanitized version of history, Morrison’s fiction highlights the fact that the past must be acknowledged. It will not “stay in the past,” but intrudes in the present and threatens the future.

Ferguson’s observation that “as the baby daughter of a second-generation slave” Beloved’s memories represent a “displacement . . backwards in time,” is quite perceptive (162). qxp 3/28/2006 Background Foregrounded 11:18 AM Page 33 33 the slave ships. Beloved carries a past that is not (directly) her own into a present in which her own existence is extremely tenuous. “Memory itself is understood as geographical space,” Weissberg writes of Morrison’s Beloved (115). Places of the past occupy both concrete and abstract space in the novel.

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