Human Bonds beyond Survival : Through the Interpretation of Life in Alice Walker's The Third Life of Grange Copeland <Articles>

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  • サヴァイヴァルを超えた命の繋がり : アリス・ウォーカーの『グレンジ・コープランドの第三の人生』における命の考察を通して <論文>
  • サヴァイヴァルを超えた命の繋がり : アリス・ウォーカーの『グレンジ・コープランドの第三の人生』における命の考察を通して
  • サヴァイヴァル オ コエタ イノチ ノ ツナガリ : アリス ・ ウォーカー ノ 『 グレンジ ・ コープランド ノ ダイサン ノ ジンセイ 』 ニ オケル イノチ ノ コウサツ オ トオシテ

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Alice Walker focuses on the lives of sharecroppers suffering under Jim Crow laws in the post-Civil War South in her first published novel, The Third Life of Grange Copeland, by realistically delineating the life of Grange Copeland. Facing everyday hardships, Grange's main concern is to survive the crop-lien system, which was de facto slavery by another name, through its rigidly hierarchical structure. It is reasonably assumed that his violence against his wife and his son, Brownfield, is deeply rooted in white supremacy. Therefore, in previous studies, Grange's behavior has been mostly construed as the reactions of an archetypal black male against white male dominance. Even the incident of Central Park in New York has been considered from such dichotomous perspective.    Grange shows a remarkable self-development when he happens to see the breakup between a pregnant white woman and a soldier in the park. Feeling deep sympathy for the white people for the first time in his life, regardless of the danger, as an equal human being he tries to cross racial boundaries in order to console the grieving woman. Consequently, her refusal of his approach and her hatred of blacks cause her to slip into a pond and die. Despite the fact that he had got a glimpse of the human bonding beyond race, after she releases his rescuing "black" hand, Grange lets her die in the frozen pond. However, it should not be overlooked that, whereas the white woman's death restores his manhood and rekindles his racial pride, his flash of inspiration "to save and preserve life is an instinct" continues to haunt him, and he accuses himself of this "murder" for the rest of his life.    After Grange returns to Georgia, his emotional growth becomes reinforced by understanding the lonely battle of his son's wife, Mem. She is more marginalized than Brownfield, living in a cabin on a white man's plantation. Mem represents any anonymous sharecroppers' wife, who is a victim of racism and sexism in society as well as at home, an archetypal black female who has no chance to develop her inner self. However, through Ruth's eyes, Walker implies Mem's unyielding resistance against falling victim to the Sachiko Mitsumori 27 system. That Mem voluntarily gets shot by Brownfield should be given more consideration. She thought her violent act against her brutal husband as horrifying but necessary for survival, to protect her children from him and also to liberate him from "new slavery." By giving up her life in atonement for her "sin," she tried to put an end to the chain of violence. Grange understands her struggle for finding human bonds in the segregated social milieu and guides Ruth by regarding Mem as her role model. Thus, Walker places Ruth as a witness to Mem's silent resistance, and leaves her the future responsibility to embody collective voices of black people.    Through his unconditional love of Ruth, Grange realizes that he was once trapped in the system by creating a white destructive "God" inside him, and that he made himself a slave by abandoning his responsibility for his family. The understanding Grange has obtained in his life can be interpreted as his own "emancipation proclamation." Whereas Grange thus achieves selfrealization by overcoming his own racism, Brownfield becomes an agent of white supremacy-"living dead" who regards a white judge as his God and uses his power to get Ruth back to him. On the surface, Grange's killing of Brownfield is "kin killing" in a racist society. When Grange shoots Brownfield to protect Ruth from him, at the same time, he is determined to give up his life, for he had already learned that his life was not only his own. It was passed on to him through generations and it must continue in the next generation. Hence, in condemning violence, Grange voluntarily takes responsibility for breaking off his human bonds in the same way that Mem did. As a result, Grange's achievement of his full humanity, which is "a state of oneness," is


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