“…A Bolshevik, a Negro and a Gun”

Nadine Allan-Vaught

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Liberal Arts in Liberal Studies, Department of English Literature, College of Arts and Sciences, University of South Florida St. Petersburg, March 19, 2014.

Abstract

This thesis reveals how a system of changing social positions structured in various private and public spaces provides a social arena for authors, Charlotte Brontë in Jane Eyre, Wilkie Collins in The Moonstone, Ida B. Wells in A Red Record and Claude McKay in his poem “If We Must Die,” to frame the racial struggles of their particular culture and time. These cross-cultural resources establish a wider, contextual stage from which to understand the complex atmosphere of race and violence out of which the transatlantic racial riots of 1919 emerged. Few scholars engage in such comparative analyses. “A Bolshevik, a Negro and a Gun” symbolizes crucial elements with which imperialist and supremacist ideology shield reality: they manipulate the historical memory of society. This study situates these literary works within a Marxist theoretical framework to demonstrate how classic texts should be read as significant cultural artifacts bestowed with elements of symbolic oppression.