Structuring Racist Ideologies in Stephen Crane’s “A Dark Brown Dog”: A Critical Discourse Analysis


Associate Professor of English Linguistics, Department of English, Faculty of Letters and Humanities, University of Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia.


This paper deals with the study of how racist ideologies are constructed in Crane’s “A Dark Brown Dog” using the CDA framework. Benefitting from the approaching between literature and linguistics, it focuses on the linguistic examination of the (re)construction of whiteness and blackness based on the assumption that racism is: a social, a discursive, and an ideological construct. This tri-dimensional construct is treated within a theoretical triangulation ranging from cognition, society, and discourse. Based on the view of discourse as a process of coding and decoding of meaning, the text of this story is explored at various levels of language use: a) contextual analysis focuses on the study of how the depiction of the setting and the characters serves to draw the scene of racial inequality; b) textual analysis deals with the way narration contributes to the (re)production of racism; and c) identity analysis is devoted to the study of how racial identity evolves across generations. The results showed that: first, the representation of the characters highlights the binary structure of the southern American society marked by the inferiority of the blacks and the superiority of the whites. Second, the way actions and events are narrated reflects the unequal distribution of power between blacks and whites. The existing asymmetry of power is traced in the duality of punishment and obedience. Third, the racist ideologies and race relations evolve across generations depending on: the amalgamations happening at the family level, the evolution of society, and the evolution of its legislations.


Main Subjects

Volume 5, Issue 2
Summer and Autumn 2017
Pages 15-46
  • Receive Date: 25 October 2018
  • Revise Date: 26 November 2018
  • Accept Date: 14 November 2018