Racism, Trauma and Mourning: A Kleinian Psychoanalytic Reading of Toni Morrison’s Beloved
第一章重點在以克萊茵所提的兩個精神發展危機－妄想型-分裂型位態（paranoid-schizoid position）與抑鬱型位態（depressive position）－重新閱讀小說中所呈現的白人種族歧視。第二章則將重點集中在小說中的母女關係，以深入探討奴隸制度如何對黑奴們造成精神性創傷。最後則是探討小說本身如何對這段創傷的回憶，開始進行哀悼的工作。
In this thesis, I want to explore how Toni Morrison deals with racism, trauma and mourning through their inexorable association with slavery in Beloved. I argue that theories of psychoanalysis, especially that of Melanie Klein, promotes our understanding of how slavery impedes the psychic development of slaves, causing psychic traumas that are hard to be worked over. The work of mourning is rendered especially difficult because the traumas they suffer are both an individual as well as a collective one. In this respect, I believe a psychoanalytic reading of Beloved not only gives us an access to the interior life of slaves but offers a great insight into Morrison’s subtle critique of racism.
In my introduction, I first discuss how Morrison’s critiques of racism can be approached from ideological and institutional aspects before reorienting the entire discussion into a Kleinian psychoanalytic frame. In chapter one, I discuss Klein’s theorization of two infantile psychic crises taking place in what she specifies the paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions, arguing that some white racists regress to these infantile states of mind and reemploy defense mechanisms to deal with fears and anxieties aroused in a racist encounter. Chapter two focuses on a mother-daughter relationship which becomes too excessive and eventually leads to a mutual persecution. I believe that by going deep into the interior life of slaves, Morrison attempts to initiate a process of mourning for these slaves and their African-American descendents who also carry this racial trauma. In this light, Beloved could be regarded as a literary work of mourning which aims to mourn for personal as well as collective traumas.
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