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The Subversion of Master's Defining Power in Toni Morrison's Beloved


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1 Islamic Azad University, Karaj Branch, Iran, Islamic Republic of
     

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Incorporated in Toni Morrison's creative enterprise to portray the unendurable life of slaves and to articulate their age-stifled voice in "Beloved" (1987) is the picture she draws of the ruthless slave-holder named Schoolteacher. This callous concurrent holder of power and subject of knowledge, who considers Sweet Home slaves subhuman creatures, tries to scrutinize their characteristics to know and define them, and thereby sustain his power over them. By her disdainful depiction of Schoolteacher's petrifying rationality via which he attempts to classify and define slaves, Morrison sharply criticizes his inhuman conduct, and furthermore reveals how the mortifying discourse of white racists sustained their power. On the other hand, she dramatizes how Schoolteacher's vicious exertion of power results in the ensuing resistance of the slaves who resist and subvert his defining power by such shocking acts as murdering their beloved child or laughing while getting burned which altogether reveal the spuriousness of his scientific classifications.

Keywords

Slavery, Racist Discourse, Power and Knowledge, Resistance, Subversion.
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  • The Subversion of Master's Defining Power in Toni Morrison's Beloved

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Authors

Sima Farshid
Islamic Azad University, Karaj Branch, Iran, Islamic Republic of

Abstract


Incorporated in Toni Morrison's creative enterprise to portray the unendurable life of slaves and to articulate their age-stifled voice in "Beloved" (1987) is the picture she draws of the ruthless slave-holder named Schoolteacher. This callous concurrent holder of power and subject of knowledge, who considers Sweet Home slaves subhuman creatures, tries to scrutinize their characteristics to know and define them, and thereby sustain his power over them. By her disdainful depiction of Schoolteacher's petrifying rationality via which he attempts to classify and define slaves, Morrison sharply criticizes his inhuman conduct, and furthermore reveals how the mortifying discourse of white racists sustained their power. On the other hand, she dramatizes how Schoolteacher's vicious exertion of power results in the ensuing resistance of the slaves who resist and subvert his defining power by such shocking acts as murdering their beloved child or laughing while getting burned which altogether reveal the spuriousness of his scientific classifications.

Keywords


Slavery, Racist Discourse, Power and Knowledge, Resistance, Subversion.

References