A1 Journal article – refereed
Anxiety about Whiteness in Joyce Carol Oates's Novel Blonde

List of Authors: Lotta Kähkönen
Publisher: Routledge, Taylor & Francis
Publication year: 2009
Journal: NORA
Volume number: 17
Issue number: 4
Number of pages: 15

Since the beginning of the 1990s Joyce Carol Oates's fiction manifests increasing interest in the issues of race and ethnicity. Her novel Blonde (2000), a fictional depiction of Marilyn Monroe's life, reflects critically the construction of white self, and displays racialization as a complex dialogue between social practices and individual subject constitution. Inspired by critical whiteness studies and feminist theories of intersectionality, this article examines how Oates's novel represents effects of racialization to a whitefemale identity and aims to decipher questions about power and discursive conceptions concerning ideas of race and gender. By giving emphasis to the concepts formation and interface in the US context and American literary tradition, the analysis shows how the construction of the protagonist's gendered and racialized identity is represented as a complex and anxiety-ridden negotiation. The representation of the protagonist's engagement with the white ideal highlights both her desires and anxieties about the idea of race. In so doing, Oates's novel elicits how racialization works both as defining and limiting to white female identity.

Last updated on 2019-21-08 at 23:08