corregidora essay

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Corregidora essay

I will pluck out their eyes" Music is her sole means of redemption because in the absence of authentic records, Ursa felt her blues could the pain and suffering of her ancestors to next generations. Corregidora has both real and symbolic value in the book because on the one hand he is the person who destroyed the lives of Gram and Great Gram while on the other, he also symbolizes male legacy of chauvinism and exploitation that threatens the female freedom and existence.

In the novel, Ursa is so intricately connected with her family history thatr everything that happens to her is linked with some past ugly experience of her ancestors. For example, when she becomes infertile Continue reading this essay Continue reading. Toggle navigation MegaEssays. Saved Essays. Topics in Paper. Example Essays. Continue reading this essay Continue reading Page 1 of 3. Next Page. More Essays:. Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.

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Gayl Jones's Corregidora is not your typical response to a long and rather terrifying history of slavery in the Americas.

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Even though she finished her phrase in mortality, years ago, I continue my phrases in polyphony and in the unity of the song she…. Here, he also leads his identity not only as a composer of new music, but also as a singer of these spirituals through his compositions.

In The Souls of Black Folk, spirituals are described as being "some echo of haunting melody from the only American music which welled up from black souls in the dark past. For example, Deep River, written for solo voice and piano, and was the inspiration for many other spirituals written later on. Each chapter has a different song title in it. Based from that topic the author goes in-depth on the meaning of each.

The first chapter she expresses her thought on the on blues and her definition. She is giving her opinion on how blues was created. As seen in this line of poetry, Hughes uses his own racial dialect to express the relationship between the black race and trials; however, the poem contains a universal theme because everyone has a mother. Home Flashcards Create Flashcards Essays.

Essays Essays FlashCards. Browse Essays. Sign in. Show More. Spirituality In Music Analysis In Mad, Solange addresses in her own way, many hurdles that Black women go through in life, which do warrant Black women to be angry, sad etc. Read More. Words: - Pages: 5. Words: - Pages: 4. Words: - Pages: 3. Music Lives Taylor Tranberg Analysis She then flows from Blackbirds to music in general by using a Beatles song lyric involving Blackbirds sung at a concert setting. Ysaye This story of my grandmother on insistence on defining who she was parallelled her story of defying female genital mutilation in my family.

Words: - Pages: 6. Du Bois's The Souls Of Black Folk Here, he also leads his identity not only as a composer of new music, but also as a singer of these spirituals through his compositions. Related Topics. But on another level, I am fascinated that over the quarter-century that Cor- regidora has functioned as a touchstone for antiracist and feminist liter- ary criticisms, all of the novel's reviewers have taken Ursa's agency of speaking as their primary concern.

Without exception, these scholars have identified Ursa's blues as an empowering practice, an inscription of communal memories that witness Ursa's individual story at the same time that they reveal the interrelated histories of her Mama, Gram, and Great Gram. Epitomized by this attention to Ursa's "song," Jones's previous critics believe Ursa's narrative stands as a collective memoir to the suffering endured by black women in slavery as well as an articulation of black women's ability to endure.

Of course, it is little wonder that Corregidora has garnered attention as an oraliterary narrative, for feminist and antiracist opposition to silence is a practical tautology although such approaches to silence are not synony- mous. I find that this rhetoric of silence, as much as blues singing, populates Ursa's self-representation, "calling" and demanding a very different "re- sponse" through its unique refrain, "I said nothing.

As such, this examination puts pressure on one of our most relied-upon methods of antiracist and feminist literary. I want to ask what it means when a narrative negates the authority of memory or voice and renounces the charge to bear witness against silence.

In the following discussion, then, I examine various manifestations of the rhetoric of silence in Corregidora, manifestations that show silence to be a remarkably allusive narrative strategy, one Ursa uses to resist con- scription and to forge an intricate and versatile counternarrative or "anti- discourse. In turn, this initial silencing of future generations is complicated by various cultural "silencers" that accumulate as the story unfolds: the missing slavery documents that kept Ursa's foremothers in bondage; the true nature of their rapist's, old man Corregidora's, ancestry; and Mutt's sexual violence against Ursa.

Importantly, such silencers are the product of white cultural dominance, and this concept of threatening whiteness functions as a kind of "present-absence" in the text that prompts further silences from Ursa.

Indeed, combined, Ursa's womb-lack and the present- absence of whiteness necessitate, either by choice or by force, a pervading voicelessness throughout the novel. Explicit narrative examples from the novel itself serve as the clearest indicators of Ursa's reticence and help us understand how to read Ursa and her antidiscourse in a new way.

Thus, my investigation not only enhances previous critical interpretations of voice in Jones's novel but also provides another way for thinking about how we engage antiracist and feminist interpretations of novels by, and about, black women. The first two pages of Corregidora relate the brief history of Ursa's mar- riage to Mutt and their violent exchange that leaves Ursa infertile. Angry that Ursa continues to perform at Happy's Cafe after they are married and jealous that other men watch her sing, Mutt ambushes Ursa after work one night, telling her, "I'm your husband.

You listen to me, not to them" Jones , 3. Ursa explains, "That was when I fell. The doctors in the hospital said my womb would have to come out. Mutt and me didn't stay together after that" 4. Thus Corregidora takes as its initiating circum- stance an instance of compound and interrelated loss, Ursa's hysterec- tomy and her ensuing separation from Mutt. This loss is the both the result of forced silence i. Just home from the hospital, Ursa describes this pervasive sense of loss, saying it is not so much how she hurts in a physical way but the feeling "[als if part of my life's already marked out for me-the barren part" 6.

This emptiness comes from her tangible forfeit, of course, but also from "feeling as if something more than the womb had been taken out Something I needed, but couldn't give back. There'd be plenty I couldn't give back now" 6. Adam McKible has argued that in black women's fiction, the womb represents a site of ideological contention Certainly Ursa's self- conception is reflected by wombs and in wombs.

She is expected to "give back" by having generations like her foremothers, and she herself is engendered from roots of aggression, her own body a testament to prac- tices of rape and forced pregnancy on a slave plantation in Brazil. McKible believes that in Corregidora, the interplay of "maternal reproduction and hegemonic practices and discourses intensifies around reproductive is- sues," potentially enabling the Corregidora women to revise the morbid symbolism of the womb into an emancipatory trope Yet McKible does not attempt to interpret Ursa's literal and figurative inability to achieve this promised, emancipatory consciousness, other than to say the hysterectomy allows Ursa the position of critique, the sagacity to ques- tion whether a womb is or should be the "center of a woman's being" Jones , Because of the central place of Ursa's womb-lack in the novel as the narrative opening and, ironically, its metaphoric role as the thing that will keep Ursa's family narrative silent, her womb-lack deserves a closer reading than McKible offers.

Not only does it launch the novel and, at one level, prompt the following pages that articulate a response to this complex loss, but, additionally, the language and imagery evoked in relation to Ursa's womb-lack confound typical notions of how bodies interact with and produce words, turning the pages into a response and a refusal, a silent rejoinder. For if Corregidora is about anything, it is about how bodies invent and influence stories: stories of sex and sexuality, pain and pleasure, the uses and abuses to which bodies are put.

As such, the novel is also a mordant commentary on the assumption that the actions and sensations of the body are simply a species of writing or that language necessarily reveals bodies. For instance, Ursa's dreams are rife with tactile images, exhibiting and inscribing the body by comparing her inability to have children to spilled glasses and bruised seeds, the place where her womb should be to a broken guitar string and curdled milk.

These comparisons construct Ursa's body as not just defective but also useless: bruised seeds produce no growth, spilled glasses no drink, a broken string no music, curdled milk no food. Akin to the dialogue at the beginning of this essay that mimes.

At its most basic, imagery inserts a material analog for an abstraction e. Imagery makes writing and the written body tactile. But while Ursa's dreams suggest concrete synonyms for her sterility, these images perform a kind of narrative silence, suspending the imagistic potential to germinate seeds, consume milk, play music. In other words, the experience of Ursa's body, its double "barrenness," negates language by employing a specific kind of linguistic silence: the refusal of sensation.

Indeed, Ursa's descriptions of women's bodies are predicated on an incapacity to feel that is repeatedly linked to an incapacity to engage language. When Ursa takes her first lover after Mutt-Tadpole, her man- ager at Happy's-she can't feel or describe sex with him. I wanted to feel, but I couldn't" Jones , Insensate, her body not only carries but also enacts silence, the act of sex erased to feeling nothing.

Remembering another encounter from child- hood, Ursa recalls, "I was out in the yard playing with the little boy from across the street. He'd bet me I didn't know how to play doctor I lay across [a] board on my belly, and he raised up my dress. Mama saw us. She jerked me in the back door by the arm, and slammed the door. He was feeling up your asshole. Here, verbs and nouns seem to suggest that Ursa is well aware of the physical world: she feels her belly on the board, the boy raising her dress.

She feels when her Mama yanks her arm. But it is the action that mimes sex that Ursa cannot feel or articulate-a specific and deliberate senseless- ness-and this erasure both presages the lost history that is her lost womb as it iterates the sexual violence from which she is descended.

For, indeed, Ursa's family history is one in which women's bodies were continually "silenced": Ursa's Great Gram and Gram were repeatedly raped by the same slavemaster and made to work as prostitutes; her mother Irene was beaten up and cast out by her husband, forced to walk down the street "looking like a whore" In turn, while Ursa's own memories of these stories become the text of Corregidora, paradoxically, they also signal disconnection, dissolution, and suppression-i.

Ursa's images are obverse and reverse at once, palpable descriptions of forced sex and attending threats of consequent sexlessness intertwined. On the one hand, Ursa remembers and relates stories of sexual assault as told by her Mama, Gram, and Great Gram:. There was a woman over on the next plantation. The master shipped her husband out of bed and got in the bed with her and They cut off her husband's penis and stuffed it in her mouth, and then they hanged her.

On the other hand, however, it is clear that the price of fighting against sexual commodification-or "telling" one's brutal story-is forced si- lence: having one's mouth "stuffed" and one's head intellect "hanged" or having your husband push you down the stairs.

But because Mutt, Tadpole, her foremothers, and, through her dreams, old man Corregidora all insist that Ursa reproduce bodies and, thus, stories in order to claim an identity, Ursa associates her womb-lack or ancestral-lack with both undesirability and the loss of the only position motherhood open to her to witness or give voice to her foremothers' oppressive history.

To men, Ursa lacks appeal because she lacks the ability to provide material for men's own stories. In typical paternal prescriptions, sons carry on the father's "narrative," and as Mutt warns Ursa in one of her reveries, "Urs, [Tadpole's] going to wont more" Ursa understands that, to men, a womb is the center of a woman's being because it represents a man's participation in language.

Indeed, in the slave economy from which Ursa is descended, black women's wombs are the gateway to a whole masculine world of exploitation, monopolization, and brutality. As Ursa quips, "I have a birthmark between my legs" To Mama, Gram, and Great Gram, however, Ursa's womb-lack arrests the necessary counternarrative that comes from their stories, a history that fills in the silences of the slavery records and official accounts. Bearing children is equal to authorship, a liberatory impulse.

In Ursa's clan, a fertile womb brings forth daughters, provides heirs to an estate of postcolonial sensibility, and daughters signal rebellion, create bodies that, in turn, create more daughters. Telling a revised history of slavery to one's daughter does two things: it establishes a matrilineage in opposition to slave patriarchy, and it "embodies" a black female script, a black female history.

In a moment of desperation to give that witness, to break silence, Ursa decides, "I'll make a fetus out of grounds of coffee," the Brazilian slave crop, and "I'll stain their hands" In essence, then, the loss of Ursa's material and psychological repro- ductivity means that Ursa lacks language: "Silence in my womb" Caged within symbolic cages, Ursa is a "barren" or "silent" woman in a world demanding descendants for identity. Thus Ursa's cage of silence is twice-bound. If she has a child, she can express her foremother's history, yet a child also signals a participation in a dehumanizing narrative based.

The loss of Ursa's womb inevitably removes her from this conun- drum in which a black woman gives birth to a child to a story who embodies a contradiction, both her objectification and her humanity.

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Stay updated. Corporate Social Responsiblity. Investor Relations. Review a Brill Book. Gayl Jones, in writing about the Portuguese coffee planter, Corregidora, underlines the most important aspect of slavery: the double marginalisation of women on the plantations. Reference Works. Primary source collections. Open Access Content. Contact us. Sales contacts. Publishing contacts. Social Media Overview. Terms and Conditions. Privacy Statement. Login to my Brill account Create Brill Account.

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Table of Contents. Sign in to annotate. Certainly Ursa's self- conception is reflected by wombs and in wombs. She is expected to "give back" by having generations like her foremothers, and she herself is engendered from roots of aggression, her own body a testament to prac- tices of rape and forced pregnancy on a slave plantation in Brazil. McKible believes that in Corregidora, the interplay of "maternal reproduction and hegemonic practices and discourses intensifies around reproductive is- sues," potentially enabling the Corregidora women to revise the morbid symbolism of the womb into an emancipatory trope Yet McKible does not attempt to interpret Ursa's literal and figurative inability to achieve this promised, emancipatory consciousness, other than to say the hysterectomy allows Ursa the position of critique, the sagacity to ques- tion whether a womb is or should be the "center of a woman's being" Jones , Because of the central place of Ursa's womb-lack in the novel as the narrative opening and, ironically, its metaphoric role as the thing that will keep Ursa's family narrative silent, her womb-lack deserves a closer reading than McKible offers.

Not only does it launch the novel and, at one level, prompt the following pages that articulate a response to this complex loss, but, additionally, the language and imagery evoked in relation to Ursa's womb-lack confound typical notions of how bodies interact with and produce words, turning the pages into a response and a refusal, a silent rejoinder. For if Corregidora is about anything, it is about how bodies invent and influence stories: stories of sex and sexuality, pain and pleasure, the uses and abuses to which bodies are put.

As such, the novel is also a mordant commentary on the assumption that the actions and sensations of the body are simply a species of writing or that language necessarily reveals bodies. For instance, Ursa's dreams are rife with tactile images, exhibiting and inscribing the body by comparing her inability to have children to spilled glasses and bruised seeds, the place where her womb should be to a broken guitar string and curdled milk.

These comparisons construct Ursa's body as not just defective but also useless: bruised seeds produce no growth, spilled glasses no drink, a broken string no music, curdled milk no food. Akin to the dialogue at the beginning of this essay that mimes. At its most basic, imagery inserts a material analog for an abstraction e. Imagery makes writing and the written body tactile.

But while Ursa's dreams suggest concrete synonyms for her sterility, these images perform a kind of narrative silence, suspending the imagistic potential to germinate seeds, consume milk, play music. In other words, the experience of Ursa's body, its double "barrenness," negates language by employing a specific kind of linguistic silence: the refusal of sensation. Indeed, Ursa's descriptions of women's bodies are predicated on an incapacity to feel that is repeatedly linked to an incapacity to engage language.

When Ursa takes her first lover after Mutt-Tadpole, her man- ager at Happy's-she can't feel or describe sex with him. I wanted to feel, but I couldn't" Jones , Insensate, her body not only carries but also enacts silence, the act of sex erased to feeling nothing. Remembering another encounter from child- hood, Ursa recalls, "I was out in the yard playing with the little boy from across the street.

He'd bet me I didn't know how to play doctor I lay across [a] board on my belly, and he raised up my dress. Mama saw us. She jerked me in the back door by the arm, and slammed the door. He was feeling up your asshole. Here, verbs and nouns seem to suggest that Ursa is well aware of the physical world: she feels her belly on the board, the boy raising her dress.

She feels when her Mama yanks her arm. But it is the action that mimes sex that Ursa cannot feel or articulate-a specific and deliberate senseless- ness-and this erasure both presages the lost history that is her lost womb as it iterates the sexual violence from which she is descended. For, indeed, Ursa's family history is one in which women's bodies were continually "silenced": Ursa's Great Gram and Gram were repeatedly raped by the same slavemaster and made to work as prostitutes; her mother Irene was beaten up and cast out by her husband, forced to walk down the street "looking like a whore" In turn, while Ursa's own memories of these stories become the text of Corregidora, paradoxically, they also signal disconnection, dissolution, and suppression-i.

Ursa's images are obverse and reverse at once, palpable descriptions of forced sex and attending threats of consequent sexlessness intertwined. On the one hand, Ursa remembers and relates stories of sexual assault as told by her Mama, Gram, and Great Gram:.

There was a woman over on the next plantation. The master shipped her husband out of bed and got in the bed with her and They cut off her husband's penis and stuffed it in her mouth, and then they hanged her. On the other hand, however, it is clear that the price of fighting against sexual commodification-or "telling" one's brutal story-is forced si- lence: having one's mouth "stuffed" and one's head intellect "hanged" or having your husband push you down the stairs.

But because Mutt, Tadpole, her foremothers, and, through her dreams, old man Corregidora all insist that Ursa reproduce bodies and, thus, stories in order to claim an identity, Ursa associates her womb-lack or ancestral-lack with both undesirability and the loss of the only position motherhood open to her to witness or give voice to her foremothers' oppressive history.

To men, Ursa lacks appeal because she lacks the ability to provide material for men's own stories. In typical paternal prescriptions, sons carry on the father's "narrative," and as Mutt warns Ursa in one of her reveries, "Urs, [Tadpole's] going to wont more" Ursa understands that, to men, a womb is the center of a woman's being because it represents a man's participation in language. Indeed, in the slave economy from which Ursa is descended, black women's wombs are the gateway to a whole masculine world of exploitation, monopolization, and brutality.

As Ursa quips, "I have a birthmark between my legs" To Mama, Gram, and Great Gram, however, Ursa's womb-lack arrests the necessary counternarrative that comes from their stories, a history that fills in the silences of the slavery records and official accounts. Bearing children is equal to authorship, a liberatory impulse. In Ursa's clan, a fertile womb brings forth daughters, provides heirs to an estate of postcolonial sensibility, and daughters signal rebellion, create bodies that, in turn, create more daughters.

Telling a revised history of slavery to one's daughter does two things: it establishes a matrilineage in opposition to slave patriarchy, and it "embodies" a black female script, a black female history. In a moment of desperation to give that witness, to break silence, Ursa decides, "I'll make a fetus out of grounds of coffee," the Brazilian slave crop, and "I'll stain their hands" In essence, then, the loss of Ursa's material and psychological repro- ductivity means that Ursa lacks language: "Silence in my womb" Caged within symbolic cages, Ursa is a "barren" or "silent" woman in a world demanding descendants for identity.

Thus Ursa's cage of silence is twice-bound. If she has a child, she can express her foremother's history, yet a child also signals a participation in a dehumanizing narrative based. The loss of Ursa's womb inevitably removes her from this conun- drum in which a black woman gives birth to a child to a story who embodies a contradiction, both her objectification and her humanity. The way for Ursa to keep her own mouth from being "stuffed" is, ironically, for her to choose silence instead of having silence forced upon her; she creates an antidiscourse to wombs as a path to language.

The opposite of authoring mothering , the reversal of creating or feeling, Ursa's rhetoric of silence undermines a straightforward equation between wombs and witnessing, bodies and speech. From this perspective, effacing the body's capacity to feel or be revealed in story effaces the dynamics of psychic and corporeal oppression. When one character, Jeffrene, says to Ursa, "I bet you were fucking before I was born Figuratively, Ursa has been valued for her sex-and has been forced to have sex-before even she, herself, was born.

And if a woman's worth is reduced to her vagina, her "hole," she is valued according to something interior and unseen, something that must be felt to be measured. But if Ursa's is a history of women prized for their vaginas and their vaginas alone, then depicting senselessness-the inability to feel the body-as well as silence-the inability to write others' stories through the propaga- tion of bodies-negates the possibility that someone else can control Ursa's body.

Ultimately, a hole cannot be taken away or exploited for the purposes of others; even with a hysterectomy, a female retains the capac- ity to receive, to take in: "And what if I'd thrown Mutt Thomas down those stairs instead, and done away with the source of his sex, or inspira- tion, or whatever the hell it is for a man, what would he feel now? At least a woman's still got the hole" In this manner, Ursa equates the hole with a kind of silence that has potential liberatory power, and by recon- ceiving herself as a hole silence instead of a womb story , Ursa cannot be silenced by an outside force; rather, she is silence.

Thus Ursa reclaims the image of the hole as a powerful, even intimidating, trope. For while the slavemaster or abusive husband wants to believe the hole is empty, easily delineated by feeling up inside it, the hole is anything but vacuous. Indeed, in space a black hole is dense, a full or substantial place that constantly consumes everything else around it.

Ursa is savvy in her association of herself with such voracious yet empty density, especially in her relationship with Mutt. About this train going in the tunnel, but it didn't seem like they was no end to the tunnel, and nobody knew when the train would get out, and then all of a sudden, the tunnel tightened around the train like a fist" Jones , Because it has no beginning and no end, no attributes that can be circum- scribed by someone outside it, the silence of the hole is the ultimate weapon against a culture that has fetishized her genitals as a knowable, marketable commodity.

In Ursa's song, the extended metaphor surpasses its own representation, for a tunnel or hole cannot be fully captured in language, always containing unknown capacities and attributes. The hole represents the "Otherness" the Portuguese or old man Corregidora or Mutt reject and deny within Ursa and her foremothers. As she tightens her hold like a fist around these men, Ursa remakes herself into a dangerously rapacious black hole, a vagina dentata.

While white feminists such as Helene Cixous have encouraged women to write in the ink made of mother's milk, give voice via phantasmagoric motherhood, and thus rewrite culture through the birth of a woman- centered language to overcome silence and silencing, Ursa denies this avenue to autonomy and agency because, finally, it speaks the master's tongue. White ink is white language, and, a priori, girl babies incarnate an entire history of sexual abuse.

Whereas Cixous calls her theory the "ges- tation drive"-"just like the desire to write: a desire to live self from within, a desire for a swollen belly, for language, for blood"-Ursa instead expels the white beast from her own swollen womb But I felt the humming and beating of wings and claws in my thighs His hair was like white wings" Jones , The distended, distorted belly and this horrific birth are the consequence of those who rape her, the white and black men who violate her body and unconscious.

Ursa's recourse to this violence is to retender her desire.

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Our professional writers can rewrite sample from a fellow student. The information is chapter specific account related emails. She recounts meeting Jeffey as Kindness Essay. Guinness business plan reflects on the past access to all 28 pages has kept to herself and thousands of other learning resources. Ursa then talks about all and so it's easy to. Sorry, we could not paraphrase by a student. Like her Great Gram, Ursa two decades in which she moments of trauma in her personal life. Sorry, copying is not allowed. This is not an example the Spider, hoping Ursa will professional essay writers. This essay has been submitted.

Choose suitable essays topic and write perfect paper with essay samples of "Corregidora" by LiteratureEssaySamples. To explain read full [Essay Sample] for free. In Gayl Jones' novel Corregidora, the past is presented as a terrifying and dominating. CORREGIDORA essaysGayl Jones. Gayl Jones's Corregidora is not your typical response to a long and rather terrifying history of slavery in the Americas.