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Splattered InkPostfeminist Gothic Fiction and Gendered Violence$
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Sarah E. Whitney

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040467

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040467.001.0001

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Break Through to Me

Break Through to Me

Sapphire’s Ghost in the Postfeminist Machine

(p.85) 4 Break Through to Me
Splattered Ink

Sarah E. Whitney

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines Sapphire's novels, Push and its sequel, The Kid. In Push, Sapphire undertakes specific literary strategies to challenge postfeminist resistance to incest trauma, to deconstruct its preoccupation with the black female body as a site of suffering, and finally to foreclose a reading of her novel as an uplifting tale of exceptionalism. In addition, Sapphire's reworking of her source material in The Kid signals her refusal to accept a neoliberal or postfeminist reading of Push as an up-by-the-bootstraps tale of hard work and meritorious victory. In writing The Kid, Sapphire speaks to the need for radical changes in the American social safety net and precludes readers from considering the struggles of Push's protagonist as consigned to the past.

Keywords:   Sapphire, Push, The Kid, incest trauma, social safety net, black female body, black female hypersexuality, sexual violence

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