Alterity in the Detective Fiction of Walter Mosley
This chapter examines the process of masculine self-definition in both the Fearless Jones novels and in the Easy Rawlins series, and uses the interrelated concepts of internal colonialism and alterity to probe the ways in which Walter Mosley undermines the process by which he sees African American men as being marginalized within American society. It argues that Mosley constructs a number of extraordinary characters who, if the power structure insists on their alterity, reconstitute their identity as Other by questioning this construction via self-definition. In essence, they invert the existing system by reflexively referencing these oppressive forces again as their own Other, or the Other’s Other. Rather than simply imposing a double negative, though, these protagonists shift their gaze by constructing an awareness of their regarded otherness while conspiring to combat these exoteric factors by their refusal to internalize oppression.
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