Toni Morrison’s Tar Baby: An Ecocolonial Reading

In her novel Tar Baby, Toni Morrison writes that “No man should live without absorbing the sins of his kind” (243), noting that “the foul air of [man’s] innocence” has wilted the “rows of angel trumpets and cause[d] them to fall from their vines” (243).  Though the novel explores the complexities of the construct of race, […]

The Gardener’s Son: Diagnosing America’s Psyche

Cormac McCarthy’s The Gardener’s Son is a poignant and eloquent story that explores the schizophrenic breakdown of the American psyche caused by a legislated diet of capitalism.  In it, McCarthy examines the privileged class, contrasting the values of those born into wealth with those who have earned it.  He also documents the compartmentalization of Christian […]

The Force Awakens: Social Justice and Homage

  When J.J. Abrams helmed the Star Trek films that relaunched the franchise starting in 2009, he took it not only as an opportunity to pay homage to the source material, but also as an opportunity to provide social commentary, as demonstrated by Star Trek Into Darkness’s commentary on the war on terror.  It is […]

The Moonstone: An Intersectional Mystery Novel

In the years since Wilkie Collins published The Moonstone as a serial novel in 1868, the novel has been called the first and best detective novel ever written, and has been attributed with setting standard mystery novel tropes such as country house robberies, red herrings, and locked-room plot twists.  Collins also used the unreliable narrator to comedic […]

Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None: The Existentialist Murder Mystery

  If anybody ever wondered how Jean-Paul Sartre’s Huis Clos—or as it is more famously known in English, No Exit—would play out as a murder mystery, then one need look no further than Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, which actually predates Huis Clos by four years.  Rather than three unacquainted individuals meeting up […]

Blood Meridian: The Epilogue

  Blood Meridian (or the Evening Redness in the West) is widely regarded as Cormac McCarthy’s finest work.  Though he won the Pulitzer Prize for The Road, and The National Book Award for All the Pretty Horses, it is Blood Meridian that critic Harold Bloom boasts is “worthy of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick”.  The novel is a rich […]

Toni Morrison’s Sula: Gender, Systemic Prejudice, and the Environment

  Considered a seminal work in Black feminist fiction (or perhaps womanist fiction), Toni Morrison’s Sula is not only a novel about how gender issues are shaped by notions of perceived race impact women, but also how it shapes the lives of men.  Morrison details the double standards women of colour are held to, whilst […]

Meet Me In Darkness: An Imitation Detective Novel

  Not all detective novels are created equal.  Though the genre was at the heights of its popularity in the mid-20th century, it did not mean all novels sold well or were well written.  Raymond Bank’s foray into detective fiction is an excellent case and point.  Meet Me In Darkness was the first ‘Sam King’ […]

The Earnshaw Neighborhood and Patriarchal Morality

  Erskine Caldwell is never going to be confused with William Faulkner, though it might be fair to call him the populist incarnation of Faulkner, or better yet, the white-trash version of William Faulkner.  His novels, though not as beautifully written, often deal with the same subjects and share a similar setting, often even expressing […]

Maya Angelou’s Even the Stars Look Lonesome: Colonizing the Mind

  Even the Stars Look Lonesome is has been tagged as one of Maya Angelou’s ‘wisdom books’, and like Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now, the book is a collection of personal essays, often based on personal experiences, that offer a wide range of thoughts on topics including history, sex, art, and culture.  In […]