Erasing the binary oppositions (?) : the position of women characters in Ishmael Reed's Japanese by Spring

Source document: Theory and Practice in English Studies. 2012, vol. 5, iss. 1, pp. [1]-13
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Ishmael Reed is known for writing original postmodern works which challenge white hegemony and control. His novels are praised not only for a mere deconstruction of such instances but also for erasure of the binary opposition of the oppressor/oppressed equation. However, although Reed uses his novels to deconstruct said instances of oppression, these attempts have been questioned by some critics who suggest that Reed not only does not deconstruct the opposition of male and female characters but also favours the position of male characters at the expense of female ones. This article then sets out to answer the question whether the position of women in Reed's latest novel, Japanese by Spring, is in alignment with his intent to deconstruct binary oppositions or not. The article concludes that, while Reed is susceptible to emphasising male roles over female roles in his early fiction, in order to promote deconstruction of white hegemony his latest novel is endowed with powerful female characters and successfully deconstructs said binary oppositions.
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