A Postcolonial Approach to the Problem of Subalternity in Toni Morrison's God Help the Child

Sahar Abdelkarim Asad Mashaqi, Kifah (Moh’d Khair) Ali Al Omari


This study focuses on the different forms of subalternity, the effect of marginalizing subaltern characters, and the postcolonial discourse among characters coming from different backgrounds in Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child (2015). A close reading of this novel shows how subalternity shapes the novel as a whole, both in its form and content. The title, language, tone, multiple points of view, and characters, all form a postcolonial frame and setting to the whole novel which highlights the problems of racism and child abuse in the United States of America in the twenty-first century. The novel is mainly about a dark child named Bride. She is born in a white family and represents children’s marginalization in a white society because of a very long history of discrimination against black people. In addition to Bride, the study shows many other examples of racism and child abuse. So, one can argue that postcolonialism is one of the best approaches that can help the reader better understand the marginalized characters. A postcolonial approach will shed more light on the suffering of all these people and help the reader find out the victim and the victimizer. As a whole, God Help the Child necessitates a totally different approach to the problem of subalternity. Instead of Spivak’s view that the subaltern cannot speak, it is possible to anticipate a near future in which the subaltern might be able to speak.


Postcolonialism; subalternity; marginalization; Toni Morrison; God Help the Child

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.7n.1p.177


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