Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination - Chapter 2: Romancing the Shadow Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 2: Romancing the Shadow Summary and Analysis

The second chapter begins with a quote by Robert Penn Warren's "Penological Studies: Southern Exposure" about "shadows bigger than people and blacker than niggers." In "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym," Edgar Allen Poe describes the last two days of the characters' journey, the narrative ending after the black man dies and the white shadows rise up. Toni Morrison considers Poe the most important early American writer in regards to the concept of American Africanism. The white image is related to the erasure of the black figure; figurations of impenetrable whiteness occur with representations of dead, impotent or controlled Africanist characters, functioning as an antidote and meditation on the shadow that is companion to this whiteness. This haunting suggests the complex and contradictory situation of early American writers.

Early America distinguishes itself by pressing toward...

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This section contains 1,723 words
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