Quest for forgiveness: Re-imagining black and white relations in William Faulkner and Toni Morrison
Lee, Hyeon Jeong
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Predicated on and critically engaged with the contemporary practice and discourses of forgiveness such as the South African TRC, Jacques Derrida, Hannah Arendt, and Julia Kristeva, this dissertation purposes to examine possibilities of forgiveness in the context of American race relation by reading William Faulkner and Toni Morrison. To accomplish this, the present project closely reads Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! and Go Down, Moses and Morrison's Song of Solomon and Beloved . Considering the various forms and levels of racial forgiveness that this project locates in two writers' literary works, it claims that while in Faulkner the idea of racial forgiveness develops into what is impossible, that is, an idea which is desired but outrageous, in Morrison, in its complex relationship with the emotion of anger, forgiveness across the race line is imagined as a necessary step for African-Americans to rebuild their identity and humanity and to establish a new relationship between the two races as well.