Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye (1970) and Shani Mootoo’s Cereus Blooms at Night (1996) both apply a strategy of connecting rape to other forms of oppression, suggesting that incest is at least partly the result of the dynamics of being colonized and “othered”. This article brings out the problematics of closely associating colonization and (incestuous) rape by exploring the associations made in these two novels. It uses Kelly Oliver’s concept of “the colonization of psychic space” to argue that the novels demonstrate that without a positive space of meaning, victims of racial oppression and of sexual violence find themselves among the abjected. The close association made between colonization and incest is criticized for ignoring the specificity of the processes by which incest and rape function to make one feel abjected.

Shani Mootoo, Toni Morrison, abjection, colonization, incest, literature, rape
dx.doi.org/10.1080/17449855.2012.691647, hdl.handle.net/1765/38288
ERMeCC - Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture
Journal of Postcolonial Writing
Department of Media and Communication

Koopman, E.M. (2013). Incestuous rape, abjection, and the colonization of psychic space in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Shani Mootoo’s Cereus Blooms at Night. Journal of Postcolonial Writing, 2012(iFirst), 1–13. doi:10.1080/17449855.2012.691647