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Engaging an icon: Caroline, or Change and the politics of representation

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This essay discusses Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori's 2003 musical Caroline, or Change by examining the show as a continuation of the legacy of the USAmerican icon of the mammy. The essay discusses the main elements of the mammy as an icon and its legacy in literature, illuminating ways in which the eponymous Caroline differs from and is similar to this enduring trope. Because one of the mammy's most significant characteristics is her motherhood of white children, the essay also discusses in detail motherhood as a theme in Kushner and Tesori's musical. It is this author's contention that Kushner's critical engagement of the mammy trope revitalizes and reclaims this stereotype as a real historical force for political change.
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Keywords: Caroline, or Change; Jeanine Tesori; Tony Kushner; black woman; mammy; stereotypes

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Florida State University.

Publication date: 01 December 2010

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