Voicing the Trauma of Slavery in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes were Watching God (1937), Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye (1970) and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple (1982).
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This dissertation studies the trauma of slavery and its legacies in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes were Watching God, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. To achieve our goal, we have relied on Jeffrey C. Alexander’s Social Trauma Theory. We have first examined slavery as a cultural trauma that threatens the collective identity of Afro-Americans with the hypothesis that the recurrent motif of rape finds its explanation in this cultural trauma. Second, we have analyzed the healing process Hurston, Morrison and Walker engage on as carrier groups in order to heal the Black society; they contribute through their novels in voicing the trauma of slavery and making it known in the public sphere. After analyzing the three selected novels in the light of Alexander’s Social Trauma theory, we have come to the conclusion that these Afro-American writers see the predominance of rape as a legacy of slavery. Therefore, they engage, through their novels, in raising claims addressing their audience to contribute in healing their society from the trauma caused by slavery.
- Département d'Anglais