Identity as ethical responsibility: A manifesto for social change in Toni Morrison's fiction select="/dri:document/dri:meta/dri:pageMeta/dri:metadata[@element='title']/node()"/>

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Show simple item record De Voss, Vida 2018-05-08T07:19:27Z 2018-05-08T07:19:27Z 2017
dc.description A dissertation submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in English en_US
dc.description.abstract Reading Morrison’s fiction at the hand of Bakhtin and Levinas, as well as considering her own non-fiction, led to the conclusion that sufficient evidence exists to argue Morrison’s novels present identity as ethical responsibility that can advocate for a manifesto for positive social change. Analysis focused on the investigation of identity construction in Morrison’s The Bluest Eye (1970), Tar Baby (1981), Paradise (1997), and A Mercy (2008). Through her fiction Morrison can be argued to construct identity in a fashion similar to the philosophies of Bakhtin and Levinas, which present the subject’s identity as an ethical responsibility for the other/Other. Morrison’s non-fiction, such as her Nobel lecture, her academic writing, her social commentary and interviews provide further support to strengthen the aforementioned claim.An investigation into the subject’s identity construction indicates it is always-already in relation to other people. The notions Self, other and Other are thus used throughout this study. The Self, should be understood to refer to the subject, the I. The lower case “other” should be understood as referring to any “other” person who is not the Self, while the capitalised “Other” refers to the marginalised, the binary opposite of the Self. This study is comprised of three components of analysis. The first component concerns the Bakhtinian theory of dialogism. Analysis of the acts of looking, seeing and naming demonstrates the Self’s identity is constructed in relation to the other/Other. The second component of analysis involves viewing the four novels through the Levinasian notions of responsibility and infinity. Revealingly, all four novels deal with the theme of responsibility and stylistically portray a grappling with infinity. Applying the concept of answerability, which functions in the theories of both Levinas and Bakhtin, further demonstrates Morrison’s focus on responsibility as signified by the pariah figures, function of community and her stylistics that invite reader responsibility. The contribution of this study is in having articulated the humanity and commonalities the exploiting and abusing Self shares with the exploited and abused other/Other, in order to demonstrate it is in the Self’s interest to value the other/ Other. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher University of Namibia en_US
dc.subject Ethical resposibility en_US
dc.subject Social change en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Identity (Psychology)
dc.subject.lcsh Self
dc.subject.lcsh Social change
dc.title Identity as ethical responsibility: A manifesto for social change in Toni Morrison's fiction en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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