S-Space College of Humanities (인문대학) English Language and Literature (영어영문학과) 영학논집(English Studies) 영학논집(English Studies) No.37 (2017)
혼종적 낙원의 노동자들: 모리슨의 『자비』에 나타난 17세기 북미 식민지 사회의 노동과 자유, 예속의 문제
Laborers in Hybrid Paradise: The Concepts of Labor, Freedom and Servitude in 17th Century Colonial America from Toni Morrisons a mercy
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 인문대학 영어영문학과
- 영학논집, Vol.37, pp. 55-86
- This paper examines Toni Morrisons a mercy in terms of reimagining the settlement history of prenational time in 17th century North America. Contrary to the dominant discourses which regard the settlement process as the Pilgrim Fathers experiences of the New England colony, Morrison focuses on the hybridity of the Virginia Colony composed of diverse classes, races, ethnicities, and gender identities. The settlement history of 17th century Virginia and its adjacent colonies shows the process of establishing private land ownership rights based on each settlers labor. The wealth accumulated through diligent labor was justified by Puritan work ethics, capitalism and imperialist ideology. In a mercy, however, Morrison reinterprets the colonial history not with the New England Puritan ancestors perspectives but with the survival experiences of various diasporic workers. 17th Century North America consisted of heterogeneous constituencies, such as white landholders (Jacob Vaak & Ortega), European indentured servants (Willard & Scully), Native Americans (Lina), black slaves (Minha Mᾶe & Florens), biracial slaves (Sorrow) and free black artisans (the blacksmith). During that time, the North American colonies were being transformed by transnational capitalism. Although many slaves and servants had been employed to do a wide range of hard manual labor, a permanent racial hierarchy had not reached an epidemic level yet. At the same time, however, raced-based slavery through the triangular trade was also gradually being established. Under these fragile and unstable conditions, White landholders such as DOrtega and Jacob could realize their dreams of economic independence through the ruthless exploitation of the Others, whereas European indentured servants and nonwhite slaves were forced to clear a vast tract of waste land and were not compensated amply enough for their hard labor. They tried to find ways to survive by using their own labor in the harsh environment and built an ideal labor community which could guarantee freedom and equality through all of its members working together. Unfortunately, this affiliation was precarious and tentative due to the changes facing the 17th century colonial economic structure. In the aftermath of Bacons Rebellion(1676), new laws were passed to upgrade the lives of white indentured servants and to instill white supremacy in Virginia. Consequently, the conflicting interests of heterogeneous constituencies in the newly organized colonial society destroyed the precious solidarity as displayed in Jacobs transnational and multicultural labor community. After Jacobs death, Rebekka starts to differentiate the kinds of farm labor which had previously been done through mutual cooperation from all the workers on Jacobs farm. She treats the work value of farm laborers with discrimination according to racial and gender factors to adapt to the Anabaptist society. As a result, white male servants like Willard and Scully are able to seize their chances for self-actualization and property holding through their labor. On the other hand, nonwhite female slaves are forced to undergo the pain of drudgery, dislocation and disentitlement. In a mercy, Morrison resists against the dominant historical narratives that have been written to reinforce White Puritan supremacy and erase the hybrid heritage of the colonial society. By bringing out the collective narratives of a transnational assembly of outcasts, Morrison demystifies a sanctified American myth and evokes an alternative national identity which underlines the travails of diverse laborers.