Date of Degree
Access restricted until 07/29/2021
MA (Master of Arts)
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
This thesis examines the clash of seemingly dissonant passages in Hannah Crafts’s The Bondwoman’s Narrative to consider how the text can and should anger the reader through the juxtaposition of multiple literary genres. In particular, the placement of scenes of gothic horror alongside expressions of piety unsettles the reader, forcing them to confront a complex array of social institutions (slavery, racism, religion, and the justice system) and their own complicity in those systems. Drawing on philosophical analyses of the structure and the morality of emotion, I argue that the text is intended to elicit anger that is both moderated by reason and rooted in love. I contest the notion that anger necessarily includes a problematic desire for payback and suggest that the desire that accompanies anger is better conceptualized as a desire for recognition of an injury that may include payback but is not fixated on payback. My reading of The Bondwoman’s Narrative contests multiple claims that the moments of dissonance in the text were a result of the author’s lack of skill. Instead, I posit that these juxtapositions are intentional and seek to engage the reader in a process of ethical formation that literature is uniquely able to provide. Anger is an essential part of the formation process, pushing the reader to consider their own complicity in injustice and to work to change unjust social systems.
American Literature, Anger, Emotion, Race, Religion
ii, 83 pages
Includes bibliographical references (pages 81-83).
Copyright © 2019 Kaitlyn Lindgren-Hansen
Lindgren-Hansen, Kaitlyn. "Unsettling religion: anger and race in The bondwoman's narrative." MA (Master of Arts) thesis, University of Iowa, 2019.
Available for download on Thursday, July 29, 2021