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ISSN: 2317-157X

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IMAGINING A MEZTIZA-SELF THROUGH THE DOUBLE-CONSCIOUSNESS TROPE

Publicado em 12 de julho de 2013

Resumo

This paper is a comparative study between two African-American novels: Caucasia by Danzy Senna (1998) and Quicksand by Lenna Larsen(1928). It specifically discusses how the mixed-race protagonist of each novel reappropriates the double-consciousness trope (originally created by African-American Scholar Du Bois to describe the lives of Blacks in the United States) to express their own existence. More specifically, I argue that Danzy Senna’s novel Caucasia transcends traditional notions of mixed-race identity found in Nella Larsen’s Quicksand.First, I will establish that Helga, the mulatta protagonist of Quicksand is constructed to play the worst version of the “double-consciousness” trope, which attempts to explain the internal conflict of being racially mixed (Black and White) in United States. I will show that Helga’s evocation of a split-identity is a device by the author to persuade readers that being in a society whether one is neither Black nor White, and not fully accepted by either race, makes a life doomed to tragedy.I will demonstrate that Caucasia challenges and transcends Quicksand by providing us with a mulatta who reappropriates the notions of double-consciousness and mixed-race to make them instrumental to her own wisdom. It is, after all, this protagonist’s Black features, and light skin, which facilitate her access to Blacks and Whites and, consequently, expose her to their rigid notions of race, which at the end of her journey, she fully rejects. Lastly, during my presentation, I will explore the cons and pros of a mixed-race label vis-à-vis the racial binary Black/White. To this discussion, I will incorporate the notion that racism does not disappear with the acceptance of miscegenation, as Brasil well proves.

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