It is true that they could not have been written had Jim been a Euro-American. But then he would not have been a slave in the South or on that raft or with Huck. That is, there would be no story at all. And that still applies to the awful "joke" they imagine they are playing at the end. So it is also true that the brilliant apology scene could not have been written either. Nor could we have much, if any, Faulkner or Flannery O'Connor or. . . .
It seems to me that what matters most is tone: how does the author represent the world of the text. It is not necessarily simple to find the line between showing and endorsing. But sometimes it is clear. Snopeses are clearly rotten--with a couple of exceptions. Almost everyone is rotten in O'Connor. But the culture is often there as a contextual critique.
>>> Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]
> 10/12/15 8:52 PM >>>
I wrote: "Those chapters simply could not have been written had Jim been a Eruo-American." To put it another way, those chapters are about the _reader_ of the book. We can't cross-examine Twain, and I have no idea about his conscious (or unconscious) intentions as he wrote -- but in some sense or other he was expecting the reader to accept them. And that acceptance of them depended on Jim's race.
The 1919 "race riots" in St. Louis were purely a _hunt_ to kill African-Americans; they were _not_ a "conflict" between Blacks and Whites, they, I repeat, a Hunt!
African-Americans fled across the River to East St. Louis to escape the hunt. THAT is how those "dead Negroes" of 4Q got there.
I'm not interested in judgments of Eliot; but I do want to see his poems (and their implied reader) whole.
The "Birth" celebrated in Griffith's film may be thought of as the Second American Republic. The First Republic was a Slave Republic. The Second Republic was the Jim Crow Republic : It was born when Northern Whites accepted the glory of KKK. We thought we had initiated a Third Republic (grounded in bourgeois equality) in the 1960s -- but as current events reveal, we failed.
P.S. It's been over 50 years since I saw either film, so I'm not very sure of this -- but The Battleship Potemkin may echo the "rhythm" of Birth of a Nation. The rotten meat of the former corresponding to the chaotic legislative chambers of the latter. And the approach of the fleet at the end corresponding to the Ride of the KKK in the latter.