In the master's eye: representations of women, Blacks, and by Susan J. Tracy

By Susan J. Tracy

This e-book explores the way literature can be utilized to enhance social strength. via rigorous readings of a sequence of antebellum plantation novels, Susan J. Tracy indicates how the narrative techniques hired by means of proslavery Southern writers served to justify and perpetuate the oppression of ladies, blacks, and terrible whites. Tracy makes a speciality of the ancient romances of six authors: George Tucker, James Ewell Heath, William Alexander Caruthers, John Pendleton Kennedy, Nathaniel Beverley Tucker, and William Gilmore Simms. utilizing adaptations on a habitual plot - within which a tender planter/hero rescues a planter's daughter from an "enemy" of her classification - every one of those novelists bolstered an idealized imaginative and prescient of a Southern civilization in response to male superiority, white supremacy, and sophistication inequality. it's a global within which white males are represented because the normal leaders of dependable and based girls, thankful and docile slaves, and inferior negative whites. in line with Tracy, the interweaving of those subject matters finds the level to which the Southern safety of slavery within the years prime as much as the Civil conflict was once an issue not just approximately race kin yet approximately gender and sophistication kinfolk to boot.

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Additional resources for In the master's eye: representations of women, Blacks, and poor whites in antebellum Southern literature

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But any discussion of male sexuality or male lust is represented as loss of self-control and is thus depicted as being more characteristic of poor whites than Page 19 of planters. Interestingly, the postCivil War stereotype of black men as uncontrollably lustful notwithstanding, most black men are portrayed in this literature as asexual family retainers and servants who barely have family relationships, much less sexual or love relationships with women of either race. So if the social historians are correct, and Southern men boasted to one another of their sexual prowess, that was one aspect of Southern male culture that didn't make its way into this literature.

Obviously, they would concentrate on those communities where they had had success. Again, the South was at an extreme disadvantage since it offered few cities, a small reading public, and overwhelming geographical barriers for jobbers to contend with. 7 One of the primary problems for the authors interested in developing an American literature was that their work was comparatively expensive to publish, especially when the publishers could steal popular and esteemed European authors at little or no cost.

The slave, even adult men and women, are envisioned as children. For instance, Nathaniel Beverley Tucker notes that the same God who "blackened the Negro's skin and wisped his hair into wool" arranged for white Europeans to bring him to civilization in a particular patriarchal institution in which "the master's reciprocal feeling of parental attachment to his humble dependent" is reflected in the slave's loyal devotion to the master and his family. 25 That both blacks and whites accept the essence of this relationship as familial, Tucker argues, is reflected in their use of "my" to describe their relations.

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