Signing the blues : toward a theoretical model based on the intertextuality of psycholinguistic metonymy and jazz phraseology for reading the texts of Jack Kerouac and Langston Hughes

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Loundagin, G. John
White, Patricia S.
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Thesis (M.A.)
Department of English
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That marginalized discourse communities practice differing modes of communication is a claim recently argued; critics have focused on the trope of metonymy as a means of signifying a discriminated-against group's silenced status within the mainstream society. What seems to be ignored in this discussion is how differing media--literature, music, painting--constitute texts that cut across discursive space (the site of these media) in a similar fashion. By positing the intertextuality (i.e., the similarity) of psycholinguistic metonymy and jazz phraseology, this thesis demonstrates how literary texts issuing from marginalized discourse communities can speak their subjectivities' full names. In Langston Hughes' "The Blues I'm Playing," metonymy and jazz serve as methods of analysis which show the subject-object relationship in artistic production. Jack Kerouac's On The Road constitutes a narrative subjectivity that, like jazz music, metonymically disrupts itself as silences speak from the realm of an Other. By accounting for the similarities between metonymy and jazz, this thesis asserts that more accurate readings can be derived from literature issuing from discourse communities which use jazz to signify.