The Signifying Monkey: A Literary Analysis

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The Signifying Monkey is a mode of literary criticism written by a literary critic, Henry Louis Gates Jr. In the opening chapter, Gates’s traces the connection between African-American rhetorical systems and African mythology. His focus is predominantly on the relationship between the African American sign ‘Signification’ and the related term ‘Signifyin(g)’. This concept, though difficult to understand at first, is embedded within Toni Morrison’s literary novel, The Bluest Eye. There is no question that colonialism has created the dominant discourse in almost every location around the world. In today’s society the direct cultural impact of colonialism may not be felt due to the hybridity of multicultures and adaptation. Yet this does not mean …show more content…

One of the most interesting themes that emerged out of this movement is the use of ‘African-America language’. “The emergence of this language is sometimes demonstrated stereotypically but frequently it is used meticulously with precise Linguistic techniques. These features, whether in narrative form or content, contain considerable messages that are very important to understand and interpret the works.” (Naderi 2013). After World War I, New York, especially Harlem saw a huge migration of Afro-Americans from the South. Toni Morrison’s novel, Bluest Eyes, focuses on the fundamentals of being an African-American during this specific time period. It can be said noted that the linguistic confusion experienced by black communities has definitely interfered with the integrity of one’s psychological "self". As a black subject one’s identity is tainted and African - Americans are constantly searching for a new suitable tool for the expression of ones "self" which correlates with the themes and narratives of their culture. (Gates, 1983: 239). An identity crisis can be seen here and a dilemma arises of cultural and character clash within one’s self. As previously stated, Gates writes signifying with an upper case ‘S’ and brackets the

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