Caribbean-Canadian Nalo Hopkinson’s speculative fiction novel Brown Girl in the Ring (1998) is set in a near future dystopian Toronto and contains many African and Caribbean supernatural and folkloric characters. This article focuses on the zombie, which traditionally functions as a symbol of powerlessness, and argues that Hopkinson’s book expands the relations of power that this figure is commonly employed to probe. More specifically, the essay suggests that, in Brown Girl in the Ring, the zombie symbolizes black people’s history of oppression, exploitation, and demonization. Furthermore, through reading the novel alongside emotion discourse and Vodou psychology, the article contends that the zombie in Hopkinson’s book can be understood as being symbolic of the consequential shame that members of the African-Caribbean diaspora may experience from a legacy of oppression, which, significantly, includes internalizing a white Western perception of their African and Caribbean cultural inheritance.


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pp. 72-89
Launched on MUSE
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