Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 37 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Playing in the Dark.
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Concepts of Africanism in American Literature

The most pronounced theme throughout Toni Morrison's "Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination" is an exploration of the recurring concepts of Africanism in American literature. Morrison starts a file to document instances of black people igniting moments of discovery in literature not written by them. Black people are seen as markers for the benevolent and wicked, the spiritual and voluptuous, and a sinful but enticing sensuality combined with demands for purity and restraint. As a black writer, Morrison struggles with a language that evokes hidden signals of racial superiority. Morrison's vulnerability would lie in romanticizing blackness. Until recently, Morrison assumes that all readers of American fiction are white, and the effect of this assumption on the literary imagination fascinates her. Morrison considers how literary whiteness and blackness are made and what the consequences are of such a construction. Morrison debates...

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This section contains 2,981 words
(approx. 8 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination Study Guide
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