Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2009


This article examines the fraught power of names and (re)naming in African-American and Jewish-authored literature in 20th-century America. The article applies various concepts within critical race theory, such as critic Stuart Hall's theories on cultural identity, to The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Ralph Ellison's personal essay "Hidden Name and Complex Fate," and Bernard Malamud's short story "The Lady of the Lake." In each of these texts, African-American and Jewish characters' names serve as loaded markers for the shifting planes of identity in tension with a culture and history of oppression.


This article first appeared in Xavier Review.

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