Black Disability and Diasporic Haunting in Diana Evans’s The Wonder

Pilar Cuder-Domínguez, University of Huelva
Vol. 41, No. 2 (Fall 2022), 247-266

This essay draws from current insights in postcolonial and disability studies to explore the representation of Black mental disability in Diana Evans’s The Wonder as a way to access diasporic experiences of loss, suffering, trauma, and unrooting. It analyzes Evans’s innovative approach to describing three generations of a Black family through the joint lens of disability and diasporic haunting. Tracing the connection between mental imbalance and creativity in Antoney Matheus and examining representations of living with loss that are gender-aligned in each generation, the essay argues that Antoney’s ghost performs both an aesthetic and a narrative function, insofar as his disability signposts larger, ongoing erasures of Black art from the national imaginary. The essay explicates how haunting is not only a vehicle of transformative recognition for Antoney’s son but also deeply connected to current social processes of exclusion/inclusion that result in similar processes of remembering/forgetting at the wider level of cultural memory.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]