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Conference Proceeding

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While thinking about transgenerational ghosting, even before I had a term to represent my thoughts, my point of reference was my phobia of prisons. Yes, the very idea of prisons frightens me beyond belief; therefore, I don‟t break the law. I have an aversion to federal court buildings, police departments, prison movies, prison scenes within other movies, people confined to chain-gangs, people in handcuffs, I distrust the police, and the list continues. When I realized that others don‟t categorically share my fear, I started to wonder about the source of it. I wondered, “Do prisons frighten me because my ancestors were enslaved? Do I remember, somehow, that feeling of insurmountable captivity? Do bodies remember?” Apparently, my questions did not exist in isolation; others had been investigating this notion as well. Toni Morrison provides an evocative perception of the notion of freedom, and its lack, in the foreword to her critically acclaimed novel, Beloved. She provides a personal narrative illustrating how she conceived the idea for the text. She explains that she was forced to resign from her editing job in a well-know publishing house because her writing, ironically, was interfering with her editing.


Presented at Graduate English Association New Voices Conference 2007, pp. 1-16.