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Memoir, Memory and Conceptualized Identities in William Melvin Kelley’s Narratives

Abstract : It all started with the blood flowing in Tucker Caliban’s veins and the eulogy at his grandfather’s funeral. In William Melvin Kelley’s narratives, the past is always of importance as for the construction of his African American characters’ identities. In A Different Drummer, the memory of the protagonist’s (i.e. Tucker Caliban’s) African ancestor gives way to a full 23-page chapter; thus showing the utter significance of this past in building another future. Included in the Black Arts Movement, Kelley’s works are consequently mobilizing works. The writer is trying to change his readers’ point of view regarding their position in the American society in the1960s-1970s. Even though political activism was not consciously anchored in his philosophy at the beginning of his career, he has come to display many of his convictions within his writings. He has also used the past to make his characters evolved toward what the real African American could also struggle to become. Kelley has mostly concentrated on creating real individuals and has used the African American common as well as particular recollections and events to shape his characters. He has used his own experience and identity to convey a sense of unity to his work. For him, the African Americans should of course have the same cultural ideology, but they must present differences that make their own identities as well. The process of identification is fundamental to his work and defining it is a matter of debate. When writing, the author tries to balance community and individuality. This is his vision of the African American identity: that of someone who is both within and without the community.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01343766
Contributor : Yannick Blec Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, July 12, 2016 - 5:13:36 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, January 15, 2022 - 4:11:51 AM

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Yannick Blec. Memoir, Memory and Conceptualized Identities in William Melvin Kelley’s Narratives. Mobilising Memory: Creating African Atlantic Identities, Jun 2015, Liverpool, United Kingdom. ⟨hal-01343766⟩

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