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Abstract

Du Bois’s theory of double consciousness explains why internalized racism leads many African-American characters to view themselves as at once black and as black seen through the eyes of the Other. However, Du Bois’s theory cannot complexly describe those African-American characters who identify more as black than as gazed upon, or vice versa. Thus, I present a spectrum of double consciousness wherein those characters identifying more as gazed upon than black are positioned on the right side of the spectrum, while those characters identifying more as black than as gazed upon are positioned on the left. To demonstrate how this theory deepens the analysis of African-American characters, I apply it to Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. This reading shows how communication between family members in A Raisin in the Sun is ineffective if the characters who are communicating exist at opposite ends of the double consciousness spectrum.

REBECCA DOYLE is a fourth-year student at Western University, graduating in June 2015 with an Honors Specialization in Environmental Science and a Minor in English Language and Literature. In September 2015 she will begin an M.Sc. in Geography at Western where she plans to study the stable isotope geochemistry of lake sediments.


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