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Toni MorrisonMemory and Meaning$
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Adrienne Lanier Seward and Justine Tally

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781628460193

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2015

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628460193.001.0001

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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: 19 September 2021

“Newness Trembles Me”?

“Newness Trembles Me”?

Representations of White Masculinity in Toni Morrison’s A Mercy

(p.243) “Newness Trembles Me”?
Toni Morrison

Mar Gallego-Durán

University Press of Mississippi

Toni Morrison’s ninth novel A Mercy (2008) provides a fascinating account of the primeval nature of slavery in late seventeenth-century America. Not only racial but also gender divisions figure prominently in Morrison’s rewriting of this pivotal moment in the history of what later came to be known as the United States. Hence Morrison’s meditation on the faulty colonial inheritance in seventeenth-century America prompts a serious interrogation into the internal workings of racial, class and gender politics of the time. More concretely, Morrison issues forth a compelling critique of the harmful effects of the subservience to a European-imported ideology of patriarchal supremacy by dealing with the politics of representing normative masculinity. Morrison unravels the impositions of white patriarchy in her depiction of the white male characters that populate her novel, who either fail as patriarchs (the case of Jacob Vaark) or as subversive masculine models (the indentured servants Willard and Scully). (150 words)

Keywords:   A Mercy, patriarchy, masculinity, legacy of colonialisn, slavery

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