Self And The City. Chris Abani’S Latest Novel, The Virgin

1804 WordsMay 10, 20178 Pages
Self and the City Chris Abani’s latest novel, The Virgin of The Flames, appears to explore a plethora of quintessentially American themes such as race, religion, sexuality, gender, urban environment, and self discovery. Like many of the previous works of American literature read in this course that act as a window into American life at the time of their publication, The Virgin of The Flames is a bay window to the state of the American psyche as a product of the nation’s history, leading up to Black, a muralist in East Los Angeles. While the novel reads a little strange and can try to grab at too many big ideas at once, the two pillars of conflict in Black’s character effortlessly parallel core conflicts of American life. The origin of…show more content…
Freedom within restraints is a contradicting idea, but just like the other themes and conflicts mentioned before, contradictions have dominated American life since 1776. Mark Twain pioneered this theme in all of his works about slavery, including Pudd’nhead Wilson, which was unsurprisingly the first book read in the semester. Roxy finds her literal and personal freedom and retains her personal freedom even after being sold back into slavery by her son, Chambers came to terms with his servitude to then be freed and learn to behave in the restraints of society, Tom lives too freely and is turned immoral by lack of discipline being ultimately resigned to the restraints of slavery, and lastly Pudd’nhead Wilson comes to terms with the restraints of his nickname, personally liberating himself, which leads to him eventually become recognized beyond his reputation. In the acclaimed Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston, Janie Crawford gets a taste of personal freedom at a young age from a pear tree, describing it as sexual liberation from “root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight.” (11. Eyes Watching). She is restrained by her grandmother, whose experience causes her to fear the effects of excessive freedom and build restraints for safety. She lectures

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