The IUP Journal of English Studies
Black and Disabled Bodies in Literary Imagination: A Critique of Toni Morrison's Select Works

Article Details
Pub. Date : Sep, 2022
Product Name : The IUP Journal of English Studies
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJES020922
Author Name : Ankita Bhowmick and Paonam Sudeep Mangang
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 07



Disability studies, rejecting the medical model which advocates "fixing" a body, views disability as socially constructed. Whatever does not fit into the hegemonized notion of the "norm" is precluded from society. Disability studies is, however, extremely important in understanding the interrelatedness of various forms of oppression, as Davis (1995) identifies disability as "the missing term in the race, class and gender triad." "Oppression" is a concept that is often found in sociological, historical, and literary texts, which is simply defined in terms of a dominant group subjugating a minor group. The acclaimed Brazilian theorist on oppression, Paulo Friere, in The Pedagogy of the Oppressed, discusses many themes of oppression that include all forms of "-isms", which are based on race, ethnicity, gender, class, caste, religion, and disability. Toni Morrison's novels almost always feature disabled characters who have some form of disability or impairment or are distinguished by a different feature.

Morrison deploys disability in a unique but traditional way, which not only critiques the attitude of society towards disabled people but also analyzes the intersection between race, gender, and disability. Drawing a link between disability, race, and oppression is not new, but people have seldom acknowledged this link in literature. This paper attempts to find how the disabled characters of color are portrayed in Morrison's novels and how these characters are oppressed on the basis of their deviance from the politicized concept of the "norm".

Disability studies, as a discourse, began to emerge in the latter part of the twentieth century after the success of the disabled rights movements, and the flourishing of various