AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 4, Number2. May  2020                                   Pp. 263-275

Reconstructing Identity through Voyages in/ out in Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child: A Psychogeographical Analysis

Department of Foreign Languages
Skikda University, Algeria


People’s voyages to different geographies may have diverse purposes. While some are just flâneurs taking routes aimlessly, others are stalkers with a preliminary idea about the significance of their derives. Aimless or not, the different geographies visited inevitably shape and reshape the walker’s character and psyche. This article analyzes Morrison’s latest novel, God Help the Child (2015), in the prism of the theory of psychogeography, which studies the correlative relation between psyche and geography. The article posits the question how does the novel’s protagonist, Bride, grows from a flâneur to a stalker in the light of the degrading capitalist American society and how do the different voyages out initiate her to some metaphorical voyages in, enabling her to reconstruct her identity as a black female and a future black mother. Bride’s wonderings about her identity, erased by a character called Booker, lead her to wandering to different territories (Decagon, the countryside and whisky) each of which dictates on her new ideologies and ethics, which, in turn, alter her behavior and outlook. The article evetually elucidates how the final station in Bride’s journey is a cathartic one through which she reclaims her freedom, recovers her identity and empowers herself and the black community.

Cite as:

Bougherira, H. .(2020). Reconstructing Identity through Voyages in/ out in Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child: A Psychogeographical Analysis. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 4 (2) 263-275.


Akhtar, J.  (2018). Toni Morrison and the new black reading God help the child. New York: Routledge

Bemong, N.et al. (Eds.). (2010). Bakhtin’s Theory of the Literary Chronopote: Reflections, Applications, Perspectives. Gent, Belgium: Academia Press

Bougherira, H. (2017). Voicing the Silenced and Empowering Community in Selected Works of Toni Morrison, Ahlem Mostaghanemi, Chinua Achebe and Harris Wilson. University of Jordan Amman, Jordan (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from http://hip.jopuls.org.jo/c/portal/layout

Coverley, M. (2006).  Psychogeography: Pocket Essentials, Coleswood: Oldcastle Books.

Gras, D. (2016).Post What? Disarticulating Post-discourses in Toni Morrison’s God help the child. MDP Humanities, 5 (80), 2-18. doi:10.3390/h5040080

Downing, H. (2015). Iain Sinclair and the Psychogeography of the Split City. University of London, Birkbeck, Great Britain (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Iain-Sinclair-and-the-psychogeography-of-the-split-Downing

Gay, R. (2015). God Help the Child by Toni Morrison Review: Incredibly powerful. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/apr/29/god-help-the-child-toni-morrison-review-novel

Brannya, G. (2017). A Dissolution of Borderlines in Toni Morrison’s God Help the

Child. Sociology Study, 7(7), 364-370. doi: 10.17265/2159‐5526/2017.07.002.

Johnsi, A. (2018). The Impact of Maternal Influence in Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child. International Journal of Research in Business Management, 6(4), 81-88. Retrieved from

Ma, Y., & Liu, L. (2017). Making of the Body: Childhood Trauma in Toni

Morrison’s God Help the Child. Journal of Languages and Culture, 8(3) 18-23.

Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/315944822_Making_of_the_body_Childhood_trauma_in_Toni_Morrisons_God_Help_the_Child

Manuela, L. R. (2015). What you do to Children Matters: Toxic Motherhood in Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child. Working Papers on English Studies, 22, 107-119. doi:10.17561/grove.v0i22.2700

Manuela, L. R. (2016). Childhood cuts Festered and Never Scabbed over: Child Abuse in Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child. Alicante Journal of English Studies, 29, 145-164. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318357656_Childhood_Cuts_Festered_and_Never_Scabbed_Over_Child_Abuse_in_Toni_Morrison’s_God_Help_the_Child

Manuela, L. R. (2017). Racialized Beauty: The Ugly Duckling in Toni Morrison’s God

Marshalls. (2018, February 27). An Introduction to Psychogeography.[Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.marshalls.co.uk/commercial/blog/an-introduction-to-psychogeography.

Morrison, T. (2015). God Help the Child. Alfred A Knopf.

Myra, I. (2018). Comparative Analysis of ‘Beloved’ and ‘God Help the Child’ by Toni Morrison. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, 8(9), 560-567. doi: 10.29322/IJSRP.8.9.

Paula, M. S. (2018). The Secret of Bride’s body in Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child. Critique Studies in Contemporary Fiction, 59(1), 609-623. doi: 10.1080/00111619.2018.1470080

Richardson, T. (ed.). (2015). Walking inside out: Contemporary British Psychogeography. London: Rowman and Littlefiled.

Sahar, A., Asad, M., & Kifah O. (2017). A Postcolonial Approach to the Problem of Subalternity in Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, 7 (1) 177-183. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321834587_A_Postcolonial_Approach_to_the_Problem_of_Subalternity_in_Toni_Morrison’s_God_Help_the_Child

Silini, R., & Majdoubeh, A. (2018). Space and the Commodification of Difference in Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child. Jordan Journal of Modern Languages and Literature, 10(1), 77-93. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331180921_Space_and_the_commodification_of_difference_in_Toni_Morrison’s_God_Help_the_Child

Stein F. H. (Ed). (1989). Maps from the Mind: Readings in Psychogeography. Oklahoma, United States: University of Oklahoma Pres


Dr. Hana BOUGHERIRA is a full time lecturer (class B) and a head of English specialization at the English Department of Skikda University/Algeria. My doctoral research explored the discourse of empowerment in Postcolonial Literature and Literature of the Oppressed.
ID ORCid: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8589-7616