Psychological intersexuals: Gender in the novels of Toni Morrison
Horton, Lorena Jean
Morris, Wesley A.
Doctor of Philosophy
In Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Beloved, and Paradise, Toni Morrison creates characters who cannot be neatly categorized as exclusively male or female. These "psychologically intersexed" characters claim their own agency to demolish male/female, homosexual/heterosexual, White/Black binaries. Morrison's open-ended examination of gender roles leads her readers to see the "intersectional" forces behind our gender assumptions. Thus, by disrupting white heterosexual patriarchy, Morrison succeeds in her stated quest to "open a wider landscape" in American literature, allowing these bigendered characters the freedom to search for new identities and giving them a new language that more accurately reflects the authentic individuals they are striving to become.
Black studies; Women's studies; American literature