Date of Award

5-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Committee Member

Erin M Goss, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Kimberly Manganelli

Committee Member

Michelle Smith

Abstract

In this paper, I explore the ways in which Danzy Senna’s Caucasia exposes the racism of the American Dream through use of a satirical passing narrative. I draw on the existing scholarship surrounding satire and traditional passing narratives and apply it to Senna’s work to analyze the ways this novel differs from traditional passing narratives to comment on the absurdity of white desirability and the racial binary. Specifically, I look at Caucasia as a location that the main characters—biracial Birdie and Cole Lee; their white mother, Sandy; and their black father, Deck—must inhabit. This depiction of an all-white space the characters are forced to continually live in informs their racial identities and desires, which leads to a double consciousness within the narrator, Birdie. Ultimately, Senna’s satire illuminates the double consciousness African Americans and biracial individuals embody because of America’s fixation on the white, American Dream that manifests itself as life in Caucasia.

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