the difference between the slave narrative and neo-slave narrative
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Morrison’s narrative style has also been referred to by some as a “neo-slave narrative.” Defined by its investigatory properties into the history of slavery, the neo-slave narrative is divided into three classes: the third-person historical novel, a first-person narration of a slave’s life and the description of the ramifications of slavery on future generations. Morrison was not impressed with most nineteenth-century slave narratives as she felt they were written primarily for those who were not black, downplaying the actual slave experience in order to be more palatable for the white reader. Neo-slave narratives, however, attract a different audience and convey a far deeper message. Authors whom employ this genre place tremendous emphasis on the body, wherein their characters strive to become disembodied, separated from their race and gender that discredits their very humanity. Sheryl Vint’s article, “"’Only by Experience’: Embodiment and the Limitations of Realism in Neo-Slave Narratives,” examines the relationship between slavery and the emotional inconsistencies of embodiment.
Just as slave narratives had to rely on embodied authority while transcending the cultural limitations projected onto this body, so neo-slave narratives betray uneasiness about embodiment. Dana and Sethe struggle with the consequences of being black female bodies in a racist and patriarchal system, and both must learn that denying their embodied selves only allows the wounding of slavery to continue (Vint 242).