MELUS

A journal concentrating on multi-ethnic American literature for the academic audience.

Articles from Vol. 36, No. 3, Fall

Editor's Introduction: White and Not-Quite-White
In 1988, Richard Dyer's essay "White" considered a topic that seemed to be almost invisible; indeed, as Dyer notes, "white power secures its dominance by seeming not to be anything in particular" (44). More than two decades later, a host of works on...
Ethnicity and the Biopolitics of Intersex in Jeffrey Eugenides's Middlesex
In Middlesex (2003), Jeffrey Eugenides relies on the familiar model of the US immigration narrative to introduce an international readership to the decidedly unfamiliar voice of a narrator who is a "hermaphrodite." As parallel emplotments, Cal (whose...
From Black Nationalism to the Ethnic Revival: Meridian's Lynne Rabinowitz
They made her conscious, heavily, of her Jewishness, when, in fact, they wanted to make her feel her whiteness. And, beyond her whiteness, the whiteness that now engulfed this family (originally, she heard, from New York) like a shroud. --Alice...
Narrative Order, Racial Hierarchy, and "White" Discourse in James Weldon Johnson's the Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man and along This Way
African Americans became increasingly mobile during the early twentieth century, as exemplified by the Great Migration that began around 1910. Reflecting the general anxiety about such racial mobility, the March 2, 1911, issue of The Independent included...
"Slipping Back into the Vernacular": Anzia Yezierska's Vernacular Modernism
During her 1923 trip to Europe, Anzia Yezierska made the appointed rounds of any serious American author of the early 1920s. According to her daughter and biographer, Louise Levitas Henriksen, Yezierska sought out George Bernard Shaw, Israel Zangwill,...
Straddling the Personal and the Political: Gendered Memory in Diana Abu-Jaber's Arabian Jazz
Diana Abu-Jaber's Arabian Jazz (1993) recounts the story of Jemorah and Melvina, two young Arab American women of Palestinian descent, who live in the United States with their father, Mamssem. When Jemorah and Melvina were still children, their American...
Troubling White Benevolence: Four Takes on a Scene from Giant
The penultimate scene of George Stevens's 1956 film Giant is one of the most iconic images in American cinema. Bick Benedict (Rock Hudson) walks into a West Texas roadside diner with his family. Seeming to stand up for the rights of the oppressed and...
White Supremacy under Fire: The Unrewarded Perspective in Edward P. Jones's the Known World
The sexually charged relationship that Clara Martin, a white widow, has with her lone slave Ralph in Edward E Jones's The Known World (2003) will strike most readers as schizophrenic. Though she is intensely attracted to Ralph, she goes to mental and...
Writing the Migration: Pedro Henriquez Urena and Early Dominican Migrants to New York City
Recalling the moment of his 1901 departure from the Dominican Republic, Pedro Henriquez Urena (1884-1946) wrote in his memoir that he felt no sadness departing for the United States at the age of sixteen: "I left happily, a fact that caused a strange...
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