Perkins-Valdez's Wench Analysis

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Under the perspective of dialectical relationship between slavery and mastery, this paper addresses the issue of intimacy across the color line, especially the dynamics of the racial border. The aim is to elaborate on the peculiarities of boundaries, on race and the peripheral vantage point of embattled interracial love in Perkins-Valdez’s Wench. Sexuality and sexual relations are racialized in a white-supremacist order and involve the privileged position of whites (masters) over blacks (slaves). However, the novel constructs a momentary breakdown of the slave system through outlaw sexual intimacy meant to question white absolute domination in slavery. This paper shows interracial sexuality as a force that subverts and disrupts power relations,…show more content…
Slave women are presented in their primitive role of sexual objects for their masters. In this primordial role, they are perpetually the master’s prey, the fulfillers of the masters’ sexual needs. Sexual exploitation of the slave woman is deep-rooted in stereotypes and involves fantasies that surround and pin her down as a passionate and hyper sexual object. Within the structure of white domination, sexual exploitation of the black woman’s body ranges essentially from a general pattern of the master’s desire of domination to acts of reproduction for economic gains. As Mamrak has observed, “There are a number of reasons why slave owners sexually abused their slaves: economic gains, desire for domination and control, and as a form of punishment.”…show more content…
According to the prevailing racial ideology, black women are viewed primarily as physical objects for white males’ sexual desire. As property, the slave women’s bodies belong to their masters and are forced into the role of sexual outlets. Within the alienating system of slavery, the slave women: Lizzie, Sweet, Reenie, or Mawu, whose story unfolds in the novel, experience sexual exploitation, a cultural norm which makes them objects for their masters’ sexual lust, and sexual victims for whites’ power, repression and
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