Gothic Elements and Racial Stereotypes in the Construction of the Passing Character
Smith, Kimberly Divonne
The Graduate School, Stony Brook University: Stony Brook, NY.
Gothic Elements and Racial Stereotypes In the Construction Of The Passing Character By Kimberly Divonne Smith Doctor of Philosophy In English Stony Brook University 2012 My dissertation analyzes the construction of the passing character in the American literary tradition as s/he is depicted by both black and white authors through their use of gothic elements, in ways that challenged or substantiated racial stereotypes (or sometimes both). Furthermore, this study demonstrates how the passing figure reflects the enduringly haunting racial landscapes of America. Specifically, this comparative study critiques the works of Mark Twain, Charles Chesnutt, Nella Larsen, Danzy Senna, and William Faulkner. Also included in this study is an analysis of racial dynamics in both versions of Imitation of Life, the 1934 adaption as directed by John Stahl and the 1959 version directed by Donald Sirk.