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How can Du Bois’ concept of double-consciousness continue to illuminate American writing?


ESSAY QUESTION (essay question includes a quotation):

“The Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world – a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world which looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels this twoness, - an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two un-reconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife, - this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self.” W.E.B. Du Bois: The Souls of Black Folk (1903)
How can Du Bois’ concept of double-consciousness continue to illuminate American writing? You should use at least two novels to respond.
The referencing style for this essay is MHRA, I have attached a small document detailing how it differs slightly from MLA, but they are similar.

You must use two novels to respond to the question, one novel is Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, 1952, and the other novel is Toni Morrison, A Mercy, 2008. Please take into account that Ellison`s text is written in 1952 and is therefore influenced by postmodernism, whereas Toni Morrison`s text is written in 2008 but set in the 17th century, but despite this gap they both contain overlapping motifs and both discuss `double-consciousness`. You can also make a few small references to Percival Everett`s Erasure (2001) as a form of secondary source.
Please also include a reference from The Cambridge companion to Ralph Ellison by Ross Posnock 2005.
When discussing postmodernism please refer to Frederic Jameson, Jean Baudillard or Linda Hutcheon but other sources are also welcome.

IMPORTANT: Please refer to the essay question`s quotation (by Du Bois) throughout the essay, it is an essay about Du Bois, however, it is important to sometimes directly refer to the quotation when addressing the question of double-consciousness.

This essay refers to Toni Morrison`s novel A Mercy, and Ralph Ellison`s invisible man, however, please make a reference to Percival Everett using the essay which I have attached as a file called: Percival Everett`s Signifying on Ralph Ellison`s Invisible Man in erasure Robert J. Butler

This module involves postmodernism, postmodern identity, post-war. The purpose is not to summarise the novel or text, the purpose is to connect the text to its cultural/historical context and to apply secondary sources and literary criticism/theory to show context and form.

There is a word document called `secondary sources`, please include at least 7 different sources, but you can refer to the same source several times if you wish. Feel free to use alternative sources if you find them also, however some of these are required. I highlighted a few useful ones. I also attacked powerpoints of the novels in question.

Below is a description of this module overall, you do not have to write on every topic, but it might be useful to see how African American postmodernism connects to the module overall:

This module covers both canonical and ‘marginal’ texts of the period, reflecting the variety and complexity of American culture. This module examines texts through the lens of form (e.g., late modernism, realism, postmodernism), genre (e.g., the historical novel, the war novel, detection and science fiction) and identity, be it regional, racial, ethnic, gendered, sexual or classed (e.g., African American, Jewish writing, Native American writing, gay and lesbian). The module also explores the prominence of memory and trauma in late twentieth- and twenty-first-century American fiction, by examining literature’s response to war, atrocity and racial violence, as well as literary experimentation with historical narrative more generally.

Literature’s exploration of American spaces (urban, suburban, rural, natural and frontier), and its engagement with the radical technological transformations of postmodernity also feature in this module. Other themes considered include the rise and dominance of consumer culture and those excluded by capitalism, and the way in which the natural environment has been changed by modernisation. In sum, the module will enable students to understand the development of American fiction over the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and its different traditions and trajectories in terms of form and genre, contents and concerns

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