Imagining a Mestiza-Self Through the Double-Consciousness Trope
Imaginando un yo mestizo a través del tropo de la doble conciencia
Keywords:mestiza, double-consciousness, inclusion, African-American, female identity, Brazilian miscegenation
This paper is a comparative study between two African-American novels: Caucasia by Danzy Senna (1998) and Quicksand by Lenna Larsen(1928). It specifically discusses how their respective mixed-race protagonist re-appropriates the double-consciousness trope –a term originally coined by African-American scholar W. E. Du Bois to describe the existence of blacks in the United States. More specifically, I argue that Danzy Senna’s novel Caucasia transcends traditional notions of mixed-race identity found in Nella Larsen’s Quicksand. First, I establish that Helga, the mulatta protagonist of Quicksand is constructed to play the version of the double-consciousness which assumes that mixed people (black and white) in United States live with internalized racism. Next, I demonstrate that Caucasia challenges Quicksand by providing us with a mulatta protagonist who re-appropriates the notions of double-consciousness by making it instrumental to her own survival and birth-right to be mixed.