PJAS 15 Spring-11

Michał Choiński
Coming Back Home to Oppressive Mississippi: A Figurative Study of Jesmyn Ward’s Men We Reaped
Polish Journal for American Studies, vol. 15 (Spring 2021), pp. 161-177

Abstract: The aim of the paper is to discuss the figurative aspects of Jesmyn Ward’s The Men We Reaped (2013). In her memoir, Ward demonstrates the connections between the systemic racism in the US South and the tragic stories of five African-American men who were close to her, and who died between 2000-2004. The tragic loss of these lives is presented through a number of figurative images which present the region through the metaphors of predatory animals, physical burdens and uncanny doubling. Also, the article reflects on how Ward coped with the trauma of loss through her writings, and how, in numerous interviews, she justified her decision to return home to Mississippi and to settle there, in spite of the systemic racism and the trauma of loss.

Keywords: Jesmyn Ward, Southern literature, Mississippi, figurative analysis, Men We Reaped

DOI: 10.7311/PJAS.15/1/2021.11

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