Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
New Critical Essays on Toni Morrison's God Help the ChildRace, Culture, and History$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Alice Knox Eaton, Maxine Lavon Montgomery, and Shirley A. Stave

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781496828873

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2021

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496828873.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use.date: 29 November 2021

Skin Deep: Identity and Trauma in God Help the Child

Skin Deep: Identity and Trauma in God Help the Child

(p.5) Skin Deep: Identity and Trauma in God Help the Child
New Critical Essays on Toni Morrison's God Help the Child

Shirley A. Stave

University Press of Mississippi

In “Skin Deep: Identity and Trauma in God Help the Child,” Shirley A. Stave argues that the novel plays surface off depth, unravelling the dichotomy as false through the lens of racism, which is predicated upon the gaze, the surface, but which profoundly disables the depth, leaving its victims traumatized. Morrison’s two main characters, Bride and Booker, both live fractured lives because of their attempt to avoid depth, choosing image and intellect as mechanisms to insulate themselves from further trauma. Bride’s ruptured skin, which exposes what lies beneath, begins her journey toward wholeness, which results in her leaving the Lacanian Mirror Stage and a misguided sense of her completeness to enter the Symbolic Order. Similarly, Booker embraces intellect as a way to isolate himself from human connection. Bride and Booker, through the agency of Booker’s aunt Queen, learn to open themselves to vulnerability and achieve the completeness they have resisted.

Keywords:   Lacan, Trauma, Surface v. Depth, Mirror Stage, Symbolic Order

University Press of Mississippi requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.