The Recovery of History as a Dialogic Process: The Role of Judith in David Bradley's 'The Chaneysville Incident'
Seminar paper from the year 2006 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 2,7, (Institut für Anglistik/Amerikanistik), course: Contemporary African-American Fiction, 9 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: As the winner of the 1982 PEN-Faulkner Prize1 and being 'acclaimed by fiction writers and by popular and scholarly writers alike' David Bradley's The Chaneysville Incident could establish itself as an important piece of contemporary literature. Therefore a considerable number of entries and textual analyses exists meanwhile, whereas the theme peculiarly central within the studies is the novel's exemplary relevance for African-American 'historiographic metafiction' (this term was introduced by Linda Hutcheon in her book A Poetics of Postmodernism). The basic subject of the novel concerns the protagonist's, John Washington's reconstruction of his past, and thus the process of his change in dealing with (African-American) history. However, within this work this perspective has to be broadened in the sense that Judith Powell, John's white lover should shift much more into focus. It is to be proved that Judith's role in the novel is extraordinarily necessary to enable the process John is undergoing for her interaction as a persistent and sensitive lover is the key to a mutual understanding. Prerequisites for a profound scrutiny of this claim are required; we need to know what exactly is the way John approaches history, and if that is changing, but also what is he able of at which stage of the novel? Which role do racial and other individual aspects play in John's past and how do they influence the present? Relating to potential answers we will go on by having a close look on the relationship of John and Judith, especially on the kind of their dialogic interaction. Furthermore, Judith's part in this process has to be emphasised to work out her key function by finding out how she interferes, how she succeeds and why it is especially Judith who is qualified to do so. Finally, the meaning and the technical representation of understanding within the novel's context should be analysed.
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