The Representation of AntiSlavery in Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad
PRATIWI, Risa Ayu
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This research tries to reveal the discourse of anti-slavery in Colson Whitehead‘s novel entitles The Underground Railroad published in 2016. It focuses on analyzing the experience of the character that lives in the Slavery era. Those characters are Cora, Caesar, and the people in Southern and Northern America. To analyze the discourse of anti-slavery, I use Stuart Hall‘s theory of representation and the discursive approach by Michel Foucault. This research employs qualitative data. The data of this research are divided into two types, the primary and the secondary data. The primary data are taken from the narrations and dialogues from The Underground Railroad novel by Colson Whitehead and the secondary data are taken from books, journal, articles, and previous research that have similar object or topics which are related to the topic discussion. Firstly, I analyze the textual analysis of slavery anti-slavery in the novel from the characters‘ dialogues and narration. I apply Hall‘s theory of representation which will be assisted by Foucault‘s discursive approach. The representation theory is used to dismantle the discourse of anti-slavery in the text by seeing narrative signs in the novel. Then, those texts are related to the contextual background in the Slavery era that constructs the discourse of antislavery. Lastly, I want to reveal the critical position of the author represented in the novel. The critical position of the author is found whether the author supports or rejects the slavery system in the novel. This research shows that there are the discourse of slavery and anti-slavery presented in the novel. Slavery in the novel produces discourses of slaves considered as chattel property, slaves have to work hard, mistaken slaves must be punished, sexual abuse against women, forbidding slaves to get an education and the oppression between slaves. Through slavery discourses that appear in the ix novel, anti-slavery discourse emerges in response to the rejection of the slavery system. Anti-slavery in the novel produces discourses of runaway slaves from their masters, and people who help slaves to achieve freedom. The main character in the novel The Underground Railroad is a black named Cora. In the beginning, as a slave, she always obeys her master's orders. During her life, Cora gets maltreatment by her master. Various bad treatments are received by Cora to become a reason for her to get out of the slavery system. As a result, she chooses to achieve her freedom, by running away from her master. Cora's escape becomes an action against the slavery system to achieve her freedom. Through the elements of the story, such as characterization, setting, and character‘s experiences which show the struggle of escaped slaves, it means that research shows the anti-slavery discourse in the novel. In the last conclusion, the author wants to give the critic toward the existence of the slavery system in the novel.
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