Erasure and the Othering of Texts


Percival Everett's Erasure takes a look at how racism affects various aspects of our lives that we may be unaware of. An excellent example of this is when Ellison ventures into the bookstore to look for his novel only to realize that they are in the Africa-American literature section. A place, as he points out, that is wholly inappropriate for the type of novels he writes and makes it impossible for anyone who might be interested in his re-workings of obscure Greek texts.

I think the point Everett was trying to make with the bookstore scene is how racial classification permeates are life in a ways that we don't even think about. Referring to someone's work as African-American fiction is automatically labeling it less than. It is already being made an "other" to other texts they may be very similar and this othering makes the work less acceptable to more audiences.

And when the text has undergone this othering then it automatically shuts off any conversation about what the text is really about. There are many works found in the African-American literature section that don't belong there. Biographies of MLK Jr. or Sojourner Truth should be found in the same place I'd find works on Roosevelt or Reagan. Brenda Jackson, or Bebe Moore Campbell should be found where I'd find Jude Devereaux or Sandra Brown. But that's not what happens. Instead if it is by a black person and in the case of many biographies, about a black person then it is automatically black book section which sends out the idea of : Hey, this book is by someone black, and must be about someone black and therefore only for black people. That sort of attitude immediately shuts off an entire audience that may find a use for or enjoyment in a novel whose only downside is that it is written by a black person,

How does this othering of Ellison's work fit into the other themes of othering that occur in Erasure? Is this labeling of works by blacks as automatically African-American literature a form of racism? And how does the labeling of work as African-American literature ultimately affect Ellison and his ability to make it as a writer in Erasure?

(C) 2005 Tamika Johnson

Tamika Johnson is a freelance writer and owner of PrologueReviews.com. If you'd like to read more articles by Tamika or would like to have your music, film or book reviewed visit www.prologuereviews.com">http://www.prologuereviews.com


MORE RESOURCES:
David Lagercrantz, who continued Stieg Larsson's Milllennium series after the latter's death in 2004, has stated that he will write just one more book in the series, to be released in 2019. This would bring the series to six books - three by Larsson and three by Lagercrantz.

In an op ed for the New York Times, Matt A.V. Chaban, policy director for the Center for an Urban Future, discusses how libraries in New York City, and potentially, in cities across the country, could find much needed funds to modernize and stay relevant for the long term through partnerships with housing and office developments:

"In 2014, the city selected the Fifth Avenue Committee to undertake the novel task of redeveloping the Sunset Park branch. There, an eight-story building will rise, with the first two floors dedicated to a library 75 percent larger than the one there now. The floors above will have 49 apartments, all of which will be rented to low- and middle-income families in perpetuity.

Imagine if the city did the same at the branch in Corona, Queens, where cramped quarters force study groups to huddle on the floor; or Red Hook, Brooklyn, where families from the nearby housing projects are eager for more job training; or Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, where rising sea levels and storms like Sandy threaten its very operations."

Two TV series based on books scooped the top honors at last night's Emmy Awards:

The Handmaid's Tale won five awards including best drama series, best actress for Elisabeth Moss and best supporting actress for Ann Dowd.

Big Little Lies took five prizes in the limited series categories, including wins for Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern.

James Hohmann, national political correspondent for The Washington Post and author of The Daily 202, leads Monday's issue with a look at the many books Hillary Clinton turned to after her election loss:

"What Happened was quickly strip-mined for political nuggets after its publication last Tuesday. As I went through it over the weekend, though, what struck me most was how the wounded Democrat coped after her crushing defeat last November.

In short, Clinton has read voraciously and eclectically — for escape, for solace and for answers.

The collection of works that she cites across 494 pages showcases a top-flight intellect and would make for a compelling graduate school seminar..."

The widow and the biographer of the beloved British children's writer Roald Dahl told the BBC in an interview this week that Charlie Bucket, the young boy whose life is changed by a golden ticket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was originally supposed to be black.

Mrs. Dahl made the remark during a conversation with Donald Sturrock, her husband's biographer, on BBC Radio 4's "Today" program. "It was his agent who thought it was a bad idea when the book was first published to have a black hero," Mr. Sturrock said. "She said people would ask why."

After a nine month dispute, Manhattan's Federal District Court has ruled that Matthew Lombardo's theatrical parody, Who's Holiday! — a dark and decidedly adult sequel of sorts to Dr Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas — does not violate the copyright of the original story.

Politico reports on how America's high school English teachers are adapting curriculum to the current political climate:

After watching the tumult of the 2016 presidential election play out inside their classrooms last year, and after a summer of hate-filled violence, many are retooling the reading lists and assignments they typically give their students. They worry that the classic high school canon doesn't sufficiently cover today's most pressing themes—questions about alienation and empathy and power—and that the usual writing prompts aren't enough to get students thinking deeper than an average cable news segment...

Stephen King's record-breaking horror film "It" may already be a hit with audiences, but one group is not celebrating the success of the latest adaptation of Stephen King's novel: clowns.

For a community already struggling to combat perceptions of clowns as scary rather than fun, the emergence of Pennywise, the movie's child-killing clown villain, played by Swedish actor Bill Skarsgard is truly the stuff of nightmares. Even before the film's release the World Clown Association was warning that the film could cause its members to lose work, even going as far as publishing a press kit to prepare clowns for the damaging effects It might have on their reputations.

The many sides of one of the UK's most beloved fantasy authors are reflected in an exhibition called Terry Pratchett: HisWorld, which opened this weekend at Salisbury Museum, not far from Terry Pratchett's Wiltshire (UK) "manorette" where he died in March 2015.

The memorabilia is as eclectic as the author's writing, from his first typewriter – a manual Imperial 58 bought secondhand for £14 – to his trademark leather jacket and Louisiana fedora.

The $1.2 trillion FY2018 budget bill (H.R. 3354), which passed by a 211-198 margin, includes full funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), including all programs administered under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), as well as the Department of Education's Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program.

The vote comes after the House Appropriations Committee in July approved a Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) funding bill which proposed roughly $231 million for the IMLS, including $183.6 million for LSTA, programs, and $27 million for IAL—essentially level with 2017 funding. In addition, the bill passed yesterday also increased funding for the National Library of Medicine by $6 million.

In addition to voting to preserve federal library funding, the House bill also would save the National Endowments for the Arts, and Humanities, which are funded as part of the FY2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill.

The House vote caps an intense lobbying effort, and comes after President Trump in May doubled down on his call to eliminate the IMLS and virtually all federal funding for libraries, as well as a host of other vital programs and agencies.....

thatware.org ©