Our proposal aims to illustrate how two apparently different novels – with regards to their historical time of publication, content and scope – can instead show similarities in the rendition of their female protagonists, their treatment of women’s condition, rebellion against social constraints and human bondage. The two novels in question, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad (2016), present similarities and obvious differences. They will be analysed from the angle of two intertextual exemplifications and through the analytical framework of Simpson’s point of view in narrative texts. The two intertextual exemplifications we aim to use for our analysis are social conventions and the exit/return dichotomy. With regards to the former intertext, social conventions, we refer to those constraints the two protagonists, Elisabeth and Cora, try to rebel against. The 19th-century Elisabeth Bennet is constantly portrayed as questioning the pressures society imposes upon a young intelligent woman with an uncommon independence of mind. The 19th-century slave girl Cora is in constant search for freedom against all odds. In her journey she nonetheless appeals to her wit to question the violence and predominance of both white men and black men – be them slaves or freemen. The second intertext, exit and return, is drawn somehow from the ‘salidas’ Don Quixote takes to begin each of his trips/viajes (1605) and which lead the way to the pivotal moments in both our novels. Elisabeth’s leaving her home on foot to check on her sister’s health at Longbourn is one example, Cora’s many attempts to flee the plantation is another. As mentioned, both intertexts will be analysed within the framework of Paul Simpson’s illustration of point of view in English narratives (1993). Point of view will be studied in particular with reference to the characters’ perspectives in moments of doubts, when and how society is viewed, judged and questioned. We will refer to Simpson’s narratorial and reflector mode in the third person, depending on “whether the narrative is related from a position outside the consciousness of any character, or whether it is mediated through the consciousness of a particular character” (Simpson: 1993, p. 62). Where the narrator is only apparently taking an objective stance, and where deontic and epistemic modality take turns between what is socially right and what is personally desirable. The analysis of the two intertexts through the lenses of Simpson’s grammar of point of view will hopefully help to clarify our intent to show the reaction of two women against the social imposition of two contemporary and only apparently distant worlds. Essential Bibliography: • Allen, G. Intertextuality, Abingdon/New York: Routledge, 2011 (Second Edition). • Austen, J. Pride and Prejudice, London: Penguin 2008 (1813). • Bachtin, M. Estetica e Romanzo, Torino: Einaudi, 2001. • Baron, S. The Birth of Intertextuality, Abingdon/New York: Routledge, 2020. • Simpson, P. Language, Ideology and Point of View, London: Routledge, 1993. • Whitehead, C. The Underground Railroad, New York: Doubleday, 2016.

The Underground Pride: A Road Map to the Grammar of Freedom

LUISANNA FODDE
;
ALESSIO PISCI
2021

Abstract

Our proposal aims to illustrate how two apparently different novels – with regards to their historical time of publication, content and scope – can instead show similarities in the rendition of their female protagonists, their treatment of women’s condition, rebellion against social constraints and human bondage. The two novels in question, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad (2016), present similarities and obvious differences. They will be analysed from the angle of two intertextual exemplifications and through the analytical framework of Simpson’s point of view in narrative texts. The two intertextual exemplifications we aim to use for our analysis are social conventions and the exit/return dichotomy. With regards to the former intertext, social conventions, we refer to those constraints the two protagonists, Elisabeth and Cora, try to rebel against. The 19th-century Elisabeth Bennet is constantly portrayed as questioning the pressures society imposes upon a young intelligent woman with an uncommon independence of mind. The 19th-century slave girl Cora is in constant search for freedom against all odds. In her journey she nonetheless appeals to her wit to question the violence and predominance of both white men and black men – be them slaves or freemen. The second intertext, exit and return, is drawn somehow from the ‘salidas’ Don Quixote takes to begin each of his trips/viajes (1605) and which lead the way to the pivotal moments in both our novels. Elisabeth’s leaving her home on foot to check on her sister’s health at Longbourn is one example, Cora’s many attempts to flee the plantation is another. As mentioned, both intertexts will be analysed within the framework of Paul Simpson’s illustration of point of view in English narratives (1993). Point of view will be studied in particular with reference to the characters’ perspectives in moments of doubts, when and how society is viewed, judged and questioned. We will refer to Simpson’s narratorial and reflector mode in the third person, depending on “whether the narrative is related from a position outside the consciousness of any character, or whether it is mediated through the consciousness of a particular character” (Simpson: 1993, p. 62). Where the narrator is only apparently taking an objective stance, and where deontic and epistemic modality take turns between what is socially right and what is personally desirable. The analysis of the two intertexts through the lenses of Simpson’s grammar of point of view will hopefully help to clarify our intent to show the reaction of two women against the social imposition of two contemporary and only apparently distant worlds. Essential Bibliography: • Allen, G. Intertextuality, Abingdon/New York: Routledge, 2011 (Second Edition). • Austen, J. Pride and Prejudice, London: Penguin 2008 (1813). • Bachtin, M. Estetica e Romanzo, Torino: Einaudi, 2001. • Baron, S. The Birth of Intertextuality, Abingdon/New York: Routledge, 2020. • Simpson, P. Language, Ideology and Point of View, London: Routledge, 1993. • Whitehead, C. The Underground Railroad, New York: Doubleday, 2016.
9788835120308
UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, INTERTEXTUALITY, GRAMMAR OF FREEDOM
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11584/321516
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