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A life of wandering and labor "Their Eyes Were Watching God" and "Tar Baby" as post-Edenic texts

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Description: Both Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God and Toni Morrison's Tar Baby enact stories of redemption that require of their female protagonists some manner of self-rescue. Janie and Jadine, respectively, negotiate the consequences of pursuing their desires and ultimately achieve some sense of solace even as other characters (and possibly the reader, as well) question the means by which they flout gender and racial norms. Within their journeys of self-discovery, both interact with the forces of capitalism yet succeed in subverting the marketplace's potential exploitation by accepting and owning the status of their bodies as commodities. In this context, Janie and Jadine represent the rhizomatic model of subjectivity that enables participation within both the subjugating dynamics of transaction and exchange and the liberating dynamics of self-creation and desire. Occupying post-Edenic settings, these novels demonstrate humanity's reliance upon its own intellectual resources--rather than those imparted by God--as the impetus for progress or even just survival. This circumstance of mankind being adrift within the context of paradise lost constructs a paradigm of diaspora, which necessitates humanity's creation of institutional forces that will inevitably veer into exploiting, rather than supporting, certain segments of the population. Principally, women are the targets of this exploitation, for they are deprived control of their bodies as the human power structure reorders in the wake of God's elimination of His direct line of authority. However, amid this climate that privileges appropriation as a means of creation (in the sense of appropriating God's creative agency), Janie and Jadine protect their bodies from being exploited by achieving creative expression via their bodies in the same manner as Eve.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work