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University of Pennsylvania

United States History

Departmental Papers (Religious Studies)

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Full-Text Articles in African American Studies

Toni Morrison: The Struggle To Depict The Black Figure On The White Page, Timothy B. Powell Jan 1990

Toni Morrison: The Struggle To Depict The Black Figure On The White Page, Timothy B. Powell

Departmental Papers (Religious Studies)

This problem of how to represent the black self on the white page, how to overcome the inherent ethnocentrism of the Western literary tradition, is one with which both the critic and the novelist of Afro-American literature must struggle to come to terms. As Gates points out, it is a tradition which dates all the way back to Plato's metaphor of the soul -of a white horse which is described as a "follower of true glory" and another, "of a dark color," which in turn attempts to lead the soul "to do terrible and unlawful deeds." For those who ...