Resistance and Protest in Percival Everett's <i>Erasure</i>


 As argued by the literary critic Margaret Russett, Percival Everett “unhinges ‘black’ subject matter from a lingering stereotype of ‘black’ style [and] challenges the assumption that a single or consensual African-American experience exists to be represented.” The author presents such a radical individualism in his most admired literary work published in 2001. In Erasure, Thelonious ‘Monk’ Ellison, the main character and narrator of the book, pens a stereotypically oriented African American novel that becomes an expression of “him being sick of it;” “an awful little book, demeaning and soul-destroying drivel” that caters for the tastes and expectations of the American readership but, at the same time, oscillates around pre-conceived beliefs, prejudices, and racial clichés supposedly emphasizing the ‘authentic’ black experience in the United States. Not only is Erasure about race, misconceptions of blackness and racial identification but also about academia, external constraints, and one’s fight against them. The present article, therefore, endeavors to analyze different forms of resistance and protest in Percival Everett’s well-acclaimed novel, demonstrating the intricate connections between the publishing industry, the impact of media, the literary canon formation and the treatment of black culture.


protest; resistance; Percival Everett; literary canon

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Published : 2020-08-16

CaputaS. (2020). Resistance and Protest in Percival Everett’s <i>Erasure</i&gt;. Review of International American Studies, 13(1), 145-157.

Sonia Caputa
Institute of English Cultures and LiteraturesFaculty of PhilologyUniversity of Silesia in Katowice  Poland

Sonia Caputa, PhD, works as Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Silesia. She was a participant of the Summer Fulbright Scholarship Programme “The United States Department of State 2015 Institute on Contemporary U.S. Literature” (University of Louisville, Kentucky). She is an active member of the Polish Association for American Studies. Caputa was guest co-editor one of the issues of RIAS and a co-editor of the series “Grand Themes of American Literature.” She teaches contemporary ethnic American literature and offers survey courses of the history of American literature. Her interests include, but are not limited to: ethnicity, assimilation, as well as stereotypes in literature and films.

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