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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.54, No.2, 301 ~ 323, 2008
Title
Rewriting Race in Hopkins`s Of One Blood; Or, the Hidden Self: “the Hidden Self,” Past/Memory, Incest, and Black Female Body
강희 Hee Kang
abstract
Pauline Hopkins`s Of One Blood; Or, the Hidden Self was published in the Colored American Magazine during 1902-03. As a literary experimentalist and a political protester, Hopkins uses her fiction as a medium to overcome and ameliorate the violently racialized surroundings of the turn-of-the-century America. Having been faced with racist rhetorics and theories growing on biological differences between races, Hopkins must have felt an overwhelming urgency to challenge the heritage of slavery in American history. In order to speak out her political agenda in such a milieu, she needed a new setting as well as new narrative materials for the new era. She had to move the setting from America to Africa, the ancient utopian Ethiopia; her interest in the ancient African civilization reflects both a popular African-American vision of Africa and the movement of “black nationalism” of the time. She also needed materials from nineteenthcentury sciences, the newly evolving theories of psychology and mysticism (spiritualism/mesmerism), to explore the meaning of “the hidden self” which unfolds the complex nature of Hopkin`s position on race, “blood,” and African- American racial subjectivity. Hopkins in the novel explores not the color line but the bloodline. Tracing the horrific legacy of incest in the history of slavery, she attempts to redefine the true racial identity of African-Americans in America and to reconstruct their past, both family and race history. At the very center of her major tropes in the novel- such as “of one blood,” “the hidden self,” and incest-exists female body. Black female body, though it represents the violent site of sexual body (rape and incest) in slavery, ultimately becomes a vehicle to convey and preserve the truth of racial memory/past/history for African-Americans. As a conveyor of the past, black women not just connect the past and the present but also reawaken African- Americans with the legacy of the African ``pure`` bloodline. Hopkins`s vision here necessitates the reevaluation of black women`s role in family and history, heralding the 20th-century black feminine writing. With the major tropes, Hopkins clearly suggests that the blood of (African-)Americans is unrecognizably intermixed. Although the novel ends with ambivalence and without resolution on what Africa signifies, those tropes certainly offer her a vehicle for criticizing as well as for challenging the racial reality of America.
Key Words
폴린 홉킨스, 『하나의 혈통: 숨겨진 자아』, 근친상간, 과거, 기억, 역사, 흑인여성의 몸, 인종 다시쓰기, Pauline E. Hopkins, Of One Blood; Or, the Hidden Self, incest, past, memory, history, black female body, rewriting race,영미문학, 문화연구, 비교문학, 비평이론, English and American Literature, cultural studies, comparative literature, critical theory
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