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The responsibility of creating writing that is palatable in order to please every audience but the Black audience is often placed on the shoulders of Black authors. As phrased by Richard Wright in his “Blueprint for Negro Writing” the risk of focusing one’s writing entirely on the Black experience, left Black authors with the risk of being “consigned to oblivion.” Writing that captures the joys, the struggles, and the history of being Black in America, is often overlooked and ignored by white audiences and publishers, as it is often perceived as being unappealing and unpleasant. However, authors like Wright, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison to name a few, were able to write in a way that refused to allow the fear of being accepted by a white audience to deter them from publishing books that centered the Black audience and experience. All three of these authors engaged in what I will define as literary dissent -- an author’s voluntary decision to write against a monolithic perspective, in favor of constructing a perspective that accounts for the complexities and differences within a group of people. The questions I will be investigating are, how do Baldwin, Morrison and Wright exhibit literary dissent? What are the implications of literary dissent, when, such as in Wright’s case, it ends up exacerbating stereotypes and involuntarily taking on an opposite purpose? Consequently, I will argue that given the different times which each of the authors I will discuss are writing in, there is a different amount of responsibility placed on them and their writing to address the relationship between Black and white people in America.
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Merino, Shirley, "Black Boys, Native Sons, Rufus Scotts, and Sulas: An Exploration of Literary Dissent" (2021). Senior Projects Spring 2021. 134.
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