History, Memory, and Construction of Identity in Edward P. Jones’s The Known World



Edward P. Jones is intensely aware of the significance of history and memory. In The Known World, his writing of the little-known history that blacks were slaverowners in the pre-Civil War south is to help African Americans reconstruct identity. In the novel, by aligning with white slaveholders, Henry failed to construct self-identity; while most slaves in the novel went out of the shadows of slavery and constructed their identities through personal and collective memories. The Known World itself as an act of memory reveals an unknown world that should have been known to all Americans. Jones suggests the readers that only in the process of sharing and remembering history, can African Americans inherit their culture and construct their identities.



Edward P. Jones; The Known World; History; Memory; Identity

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/11855


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