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Finding a Way HomeA Critical Assessment of Walter Mosley's Fiction$
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Owen E. Brady and Derek C. Maus

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781604730883

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781604730883.001.0001

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Socrates Fortlow’s Odyssey

Socrates Fortlow’s Odyssey

The Quest for Home and Self

(p.18) Socrates Fortlow’s Odyssey
Finding a Way Home

Owen E. Brady

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines the quest for a home motif in the Socrates Fortlow stories, highlighting an apparent paradox concerning notions of home: “Normatively, home signifies both a place and a feeling of domesticity: comfort, family, and security abide ... Historically for African Americans, however, home, both in the sense of the family house and the homeland’s promise, has been severely limited, often denied.” Drawing on R. W. Emerson’s notion of an idealized, individualized concept of home, the chapter reads the Fortlow stories as redemptive tales that “provide a new communal basis for reconceiving home in distinctively African American terms that transcends historic oppression and contemporary communal violence.”

Keywords:   Walter Mosley, African American literature, home, redemption, oppression, communal violence, R. W. Emerson

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