AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 5, Number 2. May  2021                                Pp.49-61

Violence/Accommodation Binary in Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition

Department of English, College of Languages
University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq


The present paper examines the divergent attitudes of black characters toward racism in Charles W. Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Traditions (1901). Chesnutt wrote his novel to reflect his opinions on how African Americans should act to improve their situation. To situate the study within the historical and cultural context of Marrow, Black intellectuals’ views, namely Washington and Du Bois, about the complicated problem of ‘color’ were explored. To analyze the contrasting views and actions of Chesnutt’s black characters, the paper uses the lens of postcolonial theory. Although Marrow is not set within a colonial context, postcolonial theoretical frameworks can be used as models to re-read this novel because they deal with intersections of races, classes, cultures, and the oppressor/ oppressed relationship. The paper concludes that Chesnutt has entertained the possibility of a hybrid or third race— as referred to within postcolonial framework—that may succeed where both races (pure white and black) have failed.

Cite as:

Ithawi, H. N. H. (2021). Violence/Accommodation Binary in Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition.
Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 5 (2). 49-61
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol5no2.4


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Hind Naji Hussein Ithawi is a lecturer of English literature at the University of Baghdad, College of Languages. She got her BA and MA from the institution mentioned above. In 2018, she got her PhD from the College of Liberal Arts, University of Texas at Austin, USA. Her areas of interest include modern American drama, race and ethnicity, performance studies, feminist studies, American and English Literature, and third world literature.https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2209-889X