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Solemn Laughter: Humor as Subversion and Resistance in the Literature of Simon Ortiz and Carter Revard

Since earliest contact, Europeans have projecied myriad qualities onto the being they erroneously named "Indian." Through text representations, Euramericans have constructed and reproduced profound distortions of indigenous peoples that have shaped political and material realities for Native Americans by reducing them to delimiting "types." Simultaneously, Native writers have a parallel history of representing whites as the embodiment of confusing and "uncivilized" strangeness. In writing which resists colonial defmitions of externally imposed "Indianness," contemporary Native writers have increasingly recast historically racist representations by asserting authentic self-descriptions while depicting whiteness as "Other." This thesis examines the ways in which two contemporary Native writers -- Simon Ortiz, Acoma, and Carter Revard, Osage -- use humor as a literary strategy to subvert the Euramerican stereotypes of the "Indian" as "noble" or "wild savage" and "unscientific primitive"'in order to reconstruct authentic Native identity from the true center, that lived by Native people themselves.


Jane Haladay


Irvin Morris





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College of Social and Behavioral Sciences