Criticism of race in Suttree has focused on its intersection with class and on its lack of historical context; however, it overlooks the machinations of race at the symbolic and narrative levels. My article argues that the recurrent use of racial language in the text merits a symbolic examination of race. By using Toni Morrison's Africanist perspective to examine blackness and Richard Dyer's theoretical approach to analyze whiteness, I question the intentionality and purpose of racial representations in the text. Drawing also from Luce, Watson, McCoy, and Prather, my article will demonstrate how narrative techniques such as metonymic displacement, metaphysical condensation, fetishization, and repetition make not only blackness, but also whiteness strange. Ultimately, I argue McCarthy's racial caricatures undermine the black and white binary and deconstruct the ontological basis of race in American literature.

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