"Regarde le nègre!": Race, (In)Visibility and Subjecthood in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man and Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye


  • Sarah Jilani The University of Oxford


Psychoanalysis, Race, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, Subjectivity, Jacques Lacan


This essay investigates the functionings of "Whiteness" as the master signifier in a "regime of visibility" that creates raced subjects only to then deny them their subjecthood in both the individual and collective unconscious. Examining where race is located within Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man and Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, how it is signified and made (in)visible, and questioning its mechanisms in granting or denying subjecthood, requires an interrogation of its system of signification: a system here framed with the aid of Fanonian and Lacanian thought. These two novels crucially question how seeing oneself as "lacking in Whiteness" is a desubjectifying psychic and social experience, and what role (in)visibility has in both securing that desubjectified status, and in the reclaiming of subjecthood for the raced self.


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Author Biography

  • Sarah Jilani, The University of Oxford
    Sarah Jilani is a recent graduate of the Master of Studies in English 1900-Present from The University of Oxford and previously completed her undergraduate studies at The University of York. Her primary research interests lie with anticolonial and resistance film and literature within the contexts of Indian and African independence periods. Her academic research has been published in Senses of Cinema, and her Arts journalism in a variety of international magazines including ArtReview, Aesthetica Magazine and Apollo Magazine. She is currently based in Istanbul.


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How to Cite

"Regarde le nègre!": Race, (In)Visibility and Subjecthood in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. (2014). Postgraduate English: A Journal and Forum for Postgraduates in English, 29. https://postgradenglishjournal.awh.durham.ac.uk/ojs/index.php/pgenglish/article/view/130