英文学会講演会のお知らせ

青山学院大学英文学会では、西本あづさ先生ご担当授業「アメリカ事情」に、米フロリダ大学よりAndrew M. Gordon教授をお招きし、講演会を開催します。なお、事前の予約等は必要ありません。会員の皆さま、学生の皆さん、お誘いあわせのうえご来場ください。

日   時: 6月5日(火) 第5限(16:20 - 17:50)
場   所: 青山キャンパス 9号館2階922教室
講 演 者 : Dr. Andrew M. Gordon
(Emeritus Professor of English, University of Florida / Director, Institute for the Psychological Study of the Arts)
講演題目: White and Black Women in Hollywood Films

講演内容
 Just as a major prototype for the relationship between white and black men in American society is found in Mark Twain’s novel Huckleberry Finn (1885) and the twentieth-century films based on it, so the prototype for the relationship between white and black women can be found in the novel Gone with the Wind (1936) and the hugely popular 1939 film based on it. The intimacy between Scarlett O’Hara, the white mistress, and Mammy, her black slave, is a relationship of inequality and exploitation. The two figures are opposites: Scarlett is white, rich, young, thin, and beautiful; Mammy is black, poor, middle aged, and fat. Scarlett is a three-dimensional character, a character capable of growth; Mammy, like the other blacks in the film, is a one-dimensional stereotype who never changes. Yet they are inseparable and interdependent; each defines the other. Mammy makes possible Scarlett’s privileged life as a Southern belle; the nurturing and labor of the black domestic servant is indispensable for Scarlett to be her beautiful white self. In a repeated scene, Mammy tightens Scarlett’s corset—in a sense, creating Scarlett.
 The paradoxical relationship of Scarlett and Mammy, the rich white mistress and her black maid who functions as mother substitute, conscience, and servant, persists in American film melodramas about women over the past 73 years, although modified, and, in films since 1990, sometimes radically revised. In this essay, we will trace the development of the relationship between white and black women in Hollywood films over this period, choosing as a representative sample Imitation of Life (1959), The Long Walk Home (1990), and The Help (2011).
 Imitation of Life reflects the changing social mores of the early Civil Rights era; it was released in 1959 and covers the period from 1947 to 1959 in the lives of two single mothers: the Scarlett figure is the beautiful white actress Lora and the Mammy figure is her black maid Annie. We see the rise of Lora on Broadway and in Hollywood, aided by her loyal servant Annie. At the same time, we follow what happens to their daughters, who were raised in the same household. The problem child is Annie’s daughter Sara Jane, who grows up in a white household but is excluded from white privilege. Sara Jane is so light skinned that she attempts to pass for white and repudiates her mother. She is a variation on the stereotype of “the tragic mulatto” who feels he or she belongs to neither the black nor the white communities.
 In both The Long Walk Home (1990), and The Help (2011), a white woman and her black maid develop a relationship of friendship and apparent equality, and the white woman struggles on the black woman’s behalf. Just as Gone with the Wind was nostalgic about the antebellum South prior to the Civil War and the Reconstruction, these films are nostalgic about the Civil Rights era, looking back at that historic transition from the distance of several decades. In these versions of history, a white woman allies with a black woman in common cause against the oppressions of the white patriarchy. Nevertheless, it is still the function of the black maid to nurture the white woman; in both films, the plight of the black domestic serves to humanize and to enlighten her white employer.

お問い合わせ先:英米文学科 西本あづさ先生