Study Guide

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe in Ethnic Studies

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket is the only novel by Edgar Allan Poe. It tells the story of—surprise—Arthur Gordon Pym, who boards a whaling ship, where he gets into all kinds of trouble. There's a mutiny. There's a shipwreck. There are scary "natives."

In her book Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, Toni Morrison says that there's a lot of interesting stuff going on in this novel, especially in relation to blackness and whiteness. Let's zoom in on a passage from the novel that Morrison analyzes in her book. The passage, which is written in diary form, comes right at the end of the book, when Nu-Nu, a "native" who has been taken prisoner by Arthur Gordon Pym, dies.

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