Honors Theses

Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

English

First Advisor

Jay Watson

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

This thesis traces the development of the ways that the South figures in the imaginations of black writers by examining Southern identity in three novels centered around migratory protagonists. The thesis examines the ways in which folk identity, urban landscapes, remigration, and gender shape the migration experience in each novel. The novels discussed here are Nella Larsen's Quicksand, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, and Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon. Quicksand posits the South as a place of unique danger, especially for black women, Invisible Man characterizes it as a place defined by oppressive memory that may be utilized as a resource for survival, and Song of Solomon describes it as the home of black ancestral roots and a potential place of healing from racial trauma. Song of Solomon also offers reconciliation for the two conceptions of gender within Quicksand and Invisible Man.

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