"The primacy of discourse" : language lessons in Samuel Delany's Hogg
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In this Master’s Report, I examine Samuel R. Delany’s use of language in his pornographic novel, Hogg. Through a postcolonial lens, I investigate the ways Delany employs white colonizers’ language to subvert white dominant patriarchal and heteronormative ideologies. As theorists Frantz Fanon and Hortense J. Spillers posit, language is essential to black identity. The arrival of Europeans on the African continent and the subsequent enslavement of blacks resulted in the loss of an indigenous African name. For blacks, the loss of this name serves as a larger metaphor by which one can uncover various wrongdoings committed by white colonizers, such as forcing Africans to learn a foreign language, refusing to acknowledge and respect an established African culture, and the physical violence enacted upon black bodies during slavery. In Hogg, the eleven-year-old black narrator negotiates his existence as a voiceless object and sex slave. I argue that through this narrator, one can see the devastating effects of colonization. Further, by creating a fictional world--the Pornotopia--Delany temporarily creates a space in which patriarchal boundaries no longer exist. Thus, the narrator challenges patriarchal, heteronormative discourse by taking advantage of the assumption that the narrator lacks the ability to master language.
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