By 1928 – the year The Well of Loneliness and Orlando were published –there was an increasing social awareness of female same-sex desire in Britain. Whilst The Well engages in religious and contemporaneous sexological discourse in order to legitimise and justify ‘sexual inversion’; Orlando adopts metaphorical language and narrative strategies to deconstruct and expose conventional heterosexuality, exploiting the possibility for same-sex desire.
‘You’re nobody, son. You don’t exist – can’t you see that? The white folk tell everybody what to think…’
The term double consciousness was first explored by W E B Du Bois in ‘The Souls of Black Folk’, published in 1903. Du Bois understands this doubling of consciousness as a direct product of ‘the power of white stereotypes in black life and thought’ and the practical racism that excluded every black American from the mainstream of society. For Du Bois, the concept of double consciousness is characterised by two particular and distinct signifiers; the first is ‘second sight’ – the inherent duality of African American identity and vision. The second, and more problematic signifier, is that of existing ‘behind the veil’ and this may be defined as the limitations of seeing and being seen unclearly. Continue reading “In Limbo: Double Consciousness in Ellison’s Invisible Man and Wright’s ‘The Man Who Lived Underground’”
There is a degraded and misogynistic representation of the feminine in E. E. Cummings  poetry: a victimised and openly disdained object Cummings invites us to judge.
Criticism of The Waste Land , on the other hand, has come to a general conclusion that it is, in short, ‘about a sexual failure which signifies a modern spiritual failure’ . And while, here too, women are victims of a failed Western civilisation, Eliot’s portrayal of the degradation of both sexes depicts a shared failure of human relationships in Western societies. There are many characters – male and female – presented through various voices, but it is the expression of a single protagonist, ‘various facets of whose character are represented by the different men and women in the poem.’ 
This commentary will discuss the cultural and historical relationship between the literary text Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, An American Slave, Written by Himself and the ‘Emancipation Memorial’ erected in 1876 in Washington, D.C; also known as the ‘Freedman’s Memorial’. The first version of the text, published in 1845, was written during the antebellum period in contrast to the monument that was erected towards the end of the Reconstruction, when the position of black Americans was supposed to have altered with the Emancipation Declaration in 1863. However, it can be argued that many of Douglas’s main preoccupations with the racial prejudices during the antebellum era can be seen embodied in the sculpture that was intended to commemorate ‘The Emancipator’, and the emancipation. Continue reading “The Language of Slavery and Freedom: Frederick Douglass vs ‘The Emancipation Memorial’”
‘But in her bosom there was still that bright glowing place-that shower of little sparks coming from it. It was almost unbearable. She hardly dared to breathe for fear of fanning it higher, and yet she breathed deeply, deeply. She hardly dared to look into the cold mirror-but she did look, and it gave her back a woman, radiant, with smiling, trembling lips, with big, dark eyes and an air of listening, waiting for something … divine to happen … that she knew must happen … infallibly.’ Katherine Mansfield, Bliss (1918)
Several critics have identified Bertha’s intense feeling of bliss as a symbol of her awakened desire for Harry, and/or Pearl. Although it is not explicitly evident, at first, exactly what is fuelling this ‘shower of sparks’ in her bosom the extensive use of the ‘fire’ and heat metaphors can be described as being synonymous with sexual passion and desire. It begins with the description of her bliss as ‘though you’d suddenly swallowed a piece of that bright afternoon sun and it burned in your bosom… little shower of sparks’, and continues ‘… passionately, passionately… the fire in her bosom.’