I came up with that title for a possible paper long ago and I am looking for the abstract which I know I have. Here is a psychoanalytic-style paper on part of the problematic. Our hero’s separation from the beloved is his Oedipal moment and the whole landscape is suffused with pre-Oedipal desire. I would add that the pre-Oedipal is also pre-white since the novel in question is also about whitening. And it is about incest, and the love-object is inaccessible because she belongs to the father … except that she is not the mother, she is the (adopted) daughter.
My text in general is somehow about originary violence and about what is not included in the nation narrative, what has to be excluded (halfheartedly). How dissonant it all is, internally and otherwise. How the “racial problem” is precisely not to be overcome but only driven underground, because it is needed in that place. I have to go back into notes here; my whole “evoke-and-elide” insight is justified somehow and is key somehow. Somehow — despite the official attempts to “erase” race, it is never really erased because it is needed in the hierarchical discourse to be elaborated, needed as an outside that is also inside, needed as an outlier.
I need to put more concentrated time into this. What I have to say is not original at the surface level and would not be at a survey level but there is something in it, something in the stone (as the sculptor said) that can be brought out. “We must mention this but not discuss it.” “We will acknowledge it but then deny it.” “You must notice it and understand it well enough to play your part well, but you must not analyze it, lest you destabilize it.”