DOI

10.17077/etd.p4pk-xh69

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Degree

Spring 2019

Access Restrictions

Access restricted until 07/29/2021

Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Degree In

Religious Studies

First Advisor

Cates, Diana

First Committee Member

Supp-Montgomerie, Jenna

Second Committee Member

Branch, Lori

Abstract

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.

Keywords

American Literature, Anger, Emotion, Race, Religion

Pages

ii, 83 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 81-83).

Copyright

Copyright © 2019 Kaitlyn Lindgren-Hansen

Available for download on Thursday, July 29, 2021

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