El discurso del poder y la lucha de contrarios en la narrativa de la esclavitud en Cuba y Estados Unidos

Elena Moreno, Florida International University


This dissertation explores the behavior of prejudiced discourse in the most representative narratives against inhumane slavery written in Cuba and the United States in the nineteenth century: Autobiografía de un esclavo, by Juan Francisco Manzano; Francisco, by Anselmo Suárez y Romero; Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, by Frederick Douglass; and Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriett Beecher Stowe. This study deals with the identification between race and slavery that occurred in the American continent, using racial prejudice to justify the enslavement of human beings. Such concepts were maintained, diffused and perpetuated by the dominant discourse. In the nineteenth century, intellectuals from both Cuba and the United States were highly influenced by the modern philosophical ideas rooted in the European Enlightenment. These ideas contradicted by principle the "peculiar institution" of slavery, which supported a great deal of the economy of both nations. This conflict of principles was soon reflected in literature and led to the founding of Cuban and African-American narrative respectively. The common exposure to slavery brought together two nations otherwise highly dissimilar in historical and cultural circumstances. Based on the theories of discourse by Foucault, Terdiman, and van Dijk, the analysis of the discourse displayed in these literary works helps understand how discourse is utilized to subvert the dominant discourse without being expelled or excluded by it. This subversion was successfully accomplished in the American narratives, while only attempted in the Cuban works, given Cuba's colonial status and the compromised economic loyalties of the Delmontino cenacle which produced these works.

Subject Area

Comparative literature|Latin American literature|American literature|Black history

Recommended Citation

Moreno, Elena, "El discurso del poder y la lucha de contrarios en la narrativa de la esclavitud en Cuba y Estados Unidos" (2006). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3212192.