Date of Award

5-15-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Degree Program

English

Department

English

Major Professor

Bryant, Earle V.

Second Advisor

Cooke, John

Third Advisor

Osundare, Niyi

Abstract

An analysis of the names and violence in Richard Wright's The Outsider reveals Wright's aesthetic program for the novel. Wright's recurring themes and the meanings of the name and aliases of his protagonist are indicative of African American vernacular tradition. Despite Wright's physical distance from African American life in the United States at the time of the novel's writing, he still conveys a strong connection to the African American experience, linking that experience with the suffering of all oppressed people. By using the idea of double-consciousness and various forms of signification, including masking, naming, and improvisation, Wright locates his work within the African American folk tradition and celebrates the freedom and subversive nature of African American expression.

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The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

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