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The racial heritage: slavery and racism in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison’s Sula and Beloved
2003 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In the three novels, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison’s Sula and Beloved, the lives and struggles of several colored characters are described during the historical period of slavery up to present day. These novels present us with an insight into the ordeals which some of the white population of the United States have inflicted upon the black people since the first slave ship arrived from Africa via the West- Indies. There are reasons to believe that the former slave-economy together with racism has had a tremendous impact upon the lives of the characters in these novels. This essay will examine the manner in which this influences the characters, by examining the descriptions of their community relationships, living conditions and work situations. In this essay therefore the aim is to reveal the effects that racism and a racial heritage have on certain individuals. The racial heritage is the combined inheritance of slavery and racism that the colored people in the novels under examination have had to live with and endure. The way in which slavery influences the lives, of not only the characters directly involved but also those individuals living many years after its abolishment, is remarkable. The dehumanization of black men, women and children is a means by which the white population can restrain the former. It is essential for the oppressors in the slave economy to keep order and the most important way to do so is by controlling all the slaves and making them believe that they cannot aspire to a better place in society because of their subhuman status. This essay states with certitude that the lives of the characters in these novels have been influenced by the historical period of slavery and racism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Social Behaviour Law, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Sula, Beloved, I Know Why the, Caged Bird Sings, Racism, Slavery, engelsk litteratur, english literature
Keyword [sv]
Samhälls-, beteendevetenskap, juridik
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-53608ISRN: LTU-CUPP--03/046--SELocal ID: a9c34218-0c3c-4415-996d-568ff071370eOAI: diva2:1026983
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 15 credits
Educational program
English, bachelor's level
Validerat; 20101217 (root)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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