Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor's Name

Heather Andrade

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Maneck Daruwala

Third Advisor's Name

Ana Luszczynska

Date of Defense



The purpose of this study is to examine the personal narrative in the sub-genre of African-American literature known as the enslavement narrative. To do this, a deep reading of Toni Morrison's novel of slavery, Beloved (1987), will employ a psychological reading of slavery as trauma to reveal the tropes common to both the enslavement narrative and therapeutic discourses about trauma and its after effects. The personal narrative is the basis upon which the nineteenth century narrative of enslavement draws power and authority and is also of primary importance in understanding the phenomenon of psychological trauma. It is the aim of this study to examine where these two discourses overlap. By employing a deep reading of Beloved in context of psychological trauma, the African American autobiography as a literary project is found to be a means of resistance and reclamation of a whole, African American subjectivity.




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