Abjection and order: the grotesque aesthetic in Octavia Butler's Wild Seed and Dawn, and Gloria Naylor's Linden Hills
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Octavia Butler's Wild Seed and Dawn, and Gloria Naylor's Linden Hills are three novels that expose the abjection of their black, maternal protagonists that is enacted by their rulers, masters, and patriarchs. This abjection renders the female protagonists as not wholly human. The grotesque, as I am using it, is the blurring of the category of the human and, by rendering these women grotesque, the patriarchal figures of the novel attempt to establish a stable social order that is founded on the control of the bodies of these black females. I use Kristeva, Foucault, and Wynter to provide a language of the grotesque with which to approach these texts. Ultimately, the abjection of the black female protagonists exposes histories of slavery and the use of black female for childrearing and child-bearing machines. When considering the texts together, the authors bring to light a past history of abjection that is rooted in slavery and colonialism (Wild Seed), a contemporary look at the dependence on black female bodies (Linden Hills), and a projection into the future that locates race and gender alongside a discussion of speciesism (Dawn). I want to argue that these authors situate the abjection of their female protagonists as an artificially imposed category and one that is directly connected to the maintaining of the social order within the novels.
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