Manual Lesson Plans Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination

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The flight from the Old World to the New is generally seen to be a flight from oppres-. Although, in fact, the escape was sometimes! All the Old World offered these immigrants was poverjv; prison, social ostracism, and, not infrequently, death. There was of course a clerical, schpj arly group of immigrants who came seeking the adventure possible in founding a colorj or, rather than against, one or another mother country or fatherland. And of course the were the merchants, who came for the cash.

The new setting would provide new raiments of self. This second chance could even be fit from the mistakes of the first. The New World offered the vision of a limitlessm' made more gleaming by the constraint, dissatisfaction, and turmoil left behind.

It if] promise genuinely promising. With luck and endurance one could discover freedont a way to make God's law manifest; or end up rich as a prince. One could move from discipbn? Much was to be written there: noble impulses were and appropriated for a national tradition; base ones, learned and elaborated in and rejecting homeland, were also made into law and appropriated for tradition Playing in the Dark 81 The body of literature produced by the young nation is one way it inscribed its transac- tions with these fears, forces, and hopes.

And it is difficult to read the literature of young America without being struck by how antithetical it is to our modern rendition of the American Dream. How pronounced in it is the absence of that term's elusive mixture of hope, realism, materialism, and promise. We have words and labels for this haunting-—"gothic," "romantic, "sermonic," "Puri- tan''—whose sources are to be found in the literature of the world these immigrants left. But the strong affinity between the nineteenth-century American psyche and gothic romance has rightly been much remarked.

Why should a young country repelled by Europe's moral and social disorder, swooning in a fit of desire and rejection, devote its talents to reproducing in its own literature the typology of diabolism it wanted to leave behind? An answer to that seems fairly obvious: one way to benefit from the lessons of earlier mistakes and past mis- fortune is w record them so as to prevent their repetition through exposure and inoculation. Romance was the form in which this uniquely American prophylaxis could be played out Long after the movement in Europe, romance remained the cherished expression of young America.

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Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination Short Answer Test - Answer Key

What was there in American romanticism that made it so attractive to Americans as a battle plain on which to fight, engage, and imagine their demons? It has been suggested that romance is an evasion of history and thus perhaps attractive " to a people trying to evade the recent past. But 1 am more persuaded by arguments that. The rights of man, for example, an organizing principle upon which the nation was founded, was inevitably yoked to Africanism. Its history, its origin is per- manently allied with another seductive concept: the hierarchy of race.

As the sociologist Or- lando Patterson has noted, we should not be surprised that the Enlightenment could accom- modate slavery; we should be surprised if it had not. The concept of freedom did not emerge in a vacuum.

Jennifer Horne

Nothing highlighted freedom—if it did not in fact create it—like slavery. Black slavery enriched the country's creative possibilities. For in that construction of blackness and enslavement could be found not only the not-free but also, with the dramatic polarity created by skin color, the projection of the not-me. The result was a playground for the imagination.

What rose up out of collective needs to allay internal fears and to ra- tionalize external exploitation was an American Africanism—a fabricated brew of dark- ness, otherness, alarm, and desire that is uniquely American. There also exists, of course, a European Africanism with a counterpart in colonial literature. What I wish to examine is how the image of reined-in, bound, suppressed, and repressed darkness became objectified in American literature as an Africanist persona.

Must one hew to a chosen Identity that, over time, chafes and constrains? Can self-assessment lean toward internalized-racism? Where does America need to do more work to recognize and honor the many cultural discourses that inform and comprise what is known as Asian America? The Archive further seeks to investigate whether Identity in general, and Mr. This Archive seeks to offer questions that will be useful in considering:. The framework may prove of use, in whole or in part, in the examination of Identity generally and it is my hope that it will spark meaningful conversation, discussion and debate in classrooms, as well as amongst colleagues.

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Marxism : As used here , a system of critical analysis that looks at Capitalist values, e. Post-Colonialism : As used here , a system of critical analysis that looks at the lasting impact of European Colonialism on a people. Othering : the process of dehumanizing members of a colonized culture for their lack of full adherence to a Eurocentric or Majority standard. Authenticity : As used here , connotes truthfulness and candor; not subject to any conscious editorial reticence.

Dynamic v. Static : As used here , the tension between an ever-changing and evolving state and a fixed state that brooks no on-going inquiry or any possibility of change. Intertextuality: As used here , the reference of texts by texts to make a point as a cultural shorthand. Tolerance v. Tokenism: As used here , signifier or box check of a passing effort to achieve diversity but may be associated with i a lack of spirit to truly diversify; or ii of a small concession made in order to block more systemic and effective moves to diversify.

His white friend Warren did not approve and did not understand. Par of it was just being crunk, but I hated these people. I hated whiteness. Huang, Eddie comments that he is neither white nor Asian. Here he struggles with his identity, and at this point in the text is at a loss as to how to define and take pride in himself. His circumstances may be further complicated by the beatings he suffers from his parents, which also further disconnect him from kids his age.

Pin by Agnes Scott College McCain Library on History | Literary criticism, Books, New books

Consider drawing students out on this quotation. What questions do they have? The quote is a great opportunity to model and practice meta-cognition. We see this pattern with the Spam Launcher and with his company Bergdorf Hoodman.

His experience with the second restaurant which failed: XiaoYe [6] , and his recent media spat with being called out as sexist seem to indicate that his relationship with parallel majority and minority discourses continues to be episodically tempestuous. From Fresh Off the Boat, we see that, while Eddie may react defensively to criticism, he really takes it to heart and mulls it over. What does the episode help us understand about Eddie?

Be ready for a lack of consensus amongst students and work to foster a culture of mutual respect and comfort with ambiguity in your classroom. Some of the people he respects most are peers whose hip hop literacy matches or exceeds his own.


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Eddie tends to admire individuals. From that first drop you can feel the game is on. When I read Swift it was like I could hear this motherfucker. I could feel how he felt with someone standing over him his whole life.

Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination Summary & Study Guide

He was sick of it. There was some real hate behind his words. As students read further into the memoir, ask them to identify moments of sarcasm, criticism and satire. The memoir is rich with examples and students should be able to make much with these concepts. As a college student, he reviles and ridicules those of his college classmates who pledge fraternities. It must have been how our grandparents felt watching the British or Japanese herd their people around in water lines.


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