Toni Morrison’s 2012 novel Home is concerned primarily with the efforts undertaken by its protagonist, the black Korean War veteran Frank Money, to accommodate himself to civilian life. However, Home differs from other Korean War novels in that after Frank returns to the United States, he neither aligns his wartime experiences with the superpower rivalry nor conducts a critical meta-engagement with Cold War ideology. When Frank comes back to the United States in 1955 from a tour of duty as a combat infantryman in Chosin, Korea, he instead undergoes the unheimlich experience of becoming a fugitive within a carceral state. Morrison confronts readers with a comparably uncanny experience when she deletes from the narrative any trace of the Cold War ideology whose structures of feeling, epistemologies, and military architecture the Korean War was putatively fought to establish and that the so-called war on terror had eerily revived. When she disallowed Cold War ideology control over representations of Home’s characters, actions, and events, Morrison recast the Korean War as the Cold War’s uncanny Other that exposed readers to an ongoing settler-colonial war being waged within 1950s US domestic society.
The Uncanny Return of Settler-Colonial Capitalism in Toni Morrison’s Home
Donald E. Pease is Ted and Helen Geisel Third Century Professor in the Humanities and Founding Director of the Futures of American Studies Institute at Dartmouth College. Pease is the author of Visionary Compacts: American Renaissance Writing in Cultural Context, The New American Exceptionalism, Theodor SEUSS Geisel, and is the editor or coeditor of twelve volumes, including The American Renaissance Reconsidered, Cultures of US Imperialism, Futures of American Studies, and, most recently, Democratic Cultures and Populist Imaginaries.
Donald E. Pease; The Uncanny Return of Settler-Colonial Capitalism in Toni Morrison’s Home. boundary 2 1 May 2020; 47 (2): 49–70. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-8193233
Download citation file: