Abstract

Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved and Robert O’Hara’s play Insurrection: Holding History foreground nonnormative sexuality in their reinhabitations of American slavery. Sexuality has a unique relationship to the fundamental conditions of enslavement: preclusion from legally recognized kinship bonds and the inability to generate reproductive futurity. Morrison deploys nonnormative sexuality to represent the perversions of slavery from which the postbellum black psyche must recover to attain heteronormative patriarchy, while O’Hara sends a contemporary queer character back in time to discover the parallels between himself and his enslaved ancestors. Despite their differences, both works demonstrate that the conditions of kinlessness and lack of futurity preclude the enslaved from exercising or articulating queer sexuality.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-6182
Print ISSN
1062-4783
Pages
pp. 141-155
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-17
Open Access
No
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