Homework Help

How is "blackness" treated in the 19th century American Literature?That doesn't...

user profile pic

thohard | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted January 2, 2011 at 11:27 AM via web

dislike 2 like
How is "blackness" treated in the 19th century American Literature?

That doesn't necessarily need to be the color of skin, but can also be meant in its dark and threatening way (as for example in Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death") or maybe also an interference between these two during this literary period.

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

devval23 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted January 2, 2011 at 2:59 PM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

I think a better question might be "How has blackness" in 19th century been interpreted over the years?" you might want to read Toni Morrison's essays on the Africanist presence in American literature from "The Unsleakable Things Unspoken" along with her book "Playing in the Dark." Also, to fully explore this question, you might want to revisit Hawthorne's "The Minister's Black Veil" and particularly Moby Dick. Melivlle writes about the 'blackness of darkness" and the "whiteness of the whale." In so doing, I think you might see a complex dialogue about race and/or the construction of race.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes