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Povijesno-politički aspekti afektivnih struktura u romanima Zore Neale Hurston i Toni Morrison

Matas, Gordan
Povijesno-politički aspekti afektivnih struktura u romanima Zore Neale Hurston i Toni Morrison 2010., doktorska disertacija, Filozofski fakultet, Zagreb

Povijesno-politički aspekti afektivnih struktura u romanima Zore Neale Hurston i Toni Morrison
(Historical and political aspects of emotional structures in the novels of Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison)

Matas, Gordan

Vrsta, podvrsta i kategorija rada
Ocjenski radovi, doktorska disertacija

Filozofski fakultet





Grgas, Stipe

Ključne riječi
African Americans; love; politics; history; emotions; community; United States; racism; women; individuals

This work analyzes the novels of Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison and emphasizes the political and historical aspects of the emotional structures that both authors deploy in their novels. Black writing in the United States depicts experience that is specifically African American. In other words, black literature records the historical and cultural circumstances that no other group shares. While many other racial and ethnic minorities in the United States experience discrimination, no other group was forcibly brought to the United States. Many black authors address this unique historical situation in their works. The themes of racial discrimination and love are rather common in African American literature, especially in the literature written by African American female writers. However, two authors - Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison distinguish themselves from this group of black female authors. Both authors deploy the theme of love in their works in a specific way and seemingly with a similar goal. In their novels, both Hurston and Morrison frequently use the theme of love to enlarge our notion of what it is to be (black) American. Taking into consideration this specific position of African Americans, in this thesis I have decided to analyze the theme of emotional structures in the novels of Morrison and Hurston and to present how they are enmeshed into the sphere of politics as well as how they reflect and negotiate the history of African Americans. I argue that Hurston and Morrison write about love in a way that sees love not only as a fulfillment of personal goals, but also as a realization of different political issues aimed at affirming African Americans. At the same time, I will show how an entire corpus of African American novels can be read through the concept of emotions, even though that specter of themes has been marginalized in literary theory. Therefore, my methodological approaches include the evaluations of previous interpretations, reinterpretations, theoretical analysis and portrayal of Hurston's and Morrison's novels as well as the manners that both authors use to employ emotions in their quest for achieving political goals. The final part of the thesis compares and contrasts the work of the two authors. The evaluation of Hurston's and Morrison's work practically covers most of the twentieth century African American women writing. Although the primary theme of my thesis are emotional structures and how they are entangled into the sphere of politics and how they mirror and discuss the history of African Americans, this work at the same time provides an insight into challenges in perception of black female writing as well as African American literature as a whole. It is my intention to depict the complexities of Hurston’s and Morrison’s work, with the special emphasis on the theme of love that the both authors frequently deploy in their novels. Generally speaking, each chapter of the dissertation describes and explains the manners in which Hurston and Morrison depict black women in various forms of providing love to their partners, families, friends and communities that they live in. I could identify four aspects of love that are present in almost all of Hurston's and Morrison's novels: romantic love, motherly love, friendly love and communal love. My discussion comprises two novels by Zora Neale Hurston, Jonah's Gourd Vine and Their Eyes Were Watching God, as well as eight novels by Toni Morrison - The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Beloved, Jazz, Paradise and Love. This dissertation includes six chapters. The first chapter, Aspects of Emotions, theorizes different approaches to the study of emotions across the disciplines and shows that emotions can also be rational. The following chapter is entitled Romantic Love and it discusses the usage of romantic love in the novels of Hurston and Morrison. The chapter presents how the concept of romantic love is used to achieve personal growth and empowerment of black characters. The third chapter is named Motherly Love and it depicts how strong personal relationships can preserve African American culture and history. The fourth chapter, Friendly Love, tackles the role of emotions among female friends and portrays friendly love as one of the means of black women emancipation. The fifth chapter, Communal Love, addresses the complex relationship between individuals and their communities and shows that only supportive communities create healthy individuals. The sixth chapter, Theoretical Paradigms and the Study of Emotions, discusses the connections between emotions and ethnic studies, postcolonial studies and feminist studies. The analysis and the conclusion argue that although the authors write at different times, they both use similar themes and concepts. Moreover, their goals seem to be similar as well – Hurston and Morrison request a stronger role for black women in American society, fight stereotypes about African Americans and ask for the revision of (African) American history, as well as its viewing from African American perspective.

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Znanstvena područja


Filozofski fakultet, Zagreb

Autor s matičnim brojem:
Gordan Matas, (276835)