Cycles of Violence: Ancestral Subtexts in Gayl Jones’ Corregidora

Maja Milatovic


This article argues that the ancestral narratives of enslavement in Corregidora function as ancestral subtexts to the characters’ lives, where the enslaved ancestor’s narrative is reproduced through performing the role of the ancestor or “becoming the ancestor” and internalization, resulting in cycles of violence. I use the term subtext to refer to the implicit, indirect but inferable aspects of the ancestral narrative which are continuously present in the characters’ lives. Within this context, I postulate that the descendants’ project of healing is made possible through an integration of these troubling narratives, creating a dialogic relationship with the past as well as identifying the ways in which that past continues to inform the present.


slavery; incest; abuse; blues; feminism; rape; Brazil; African-American; ancestor; testimony

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