Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA
Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Dr. Shawn Thomson
Dr. Rebecca Mitchell
Dr. R. Jacob McDonie
In 1940, Black leftist writer Richard Wright, in his classic Native Son, sought out a great figure in the American Black canon, W. E. B. Du Bois, to understand and delineate double consciousness of Blacks. But it is surprising, perhaps, that Wright also drew from a major figure in the white canon, Herman Melville, in order to explore the overcoming of double consciousness and its effects. Although another tradition might interpret Melville’s Captain Ahab as “predicting” Wright’s story of Bigger Thomas, I suggest that it is the Pequod crew of Moby-Dick, not the driven and driving Captain, which compels Wright’s attention. A spirit of revolt and camaraderie in the world at sea – I enlist in my analysis Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker’s “motley crew” and Paul Gilroy’s Black Atlantic – informs Melville’s 1850s sea stories, and predicts Wright’s interest in Melville and Wright’s advice to emerging Black writers.
University of Texas-Pan American
Copyright 2014 Linda Braune. All Rights Reserved.