Sing, Unburied, Sing: The Dual Lack and Pursuit of Love and Identity among Black People

Sing, Unburied,Sing; Jesmyn Ward; alienation; love; identity


  • Huiying Wei
    Postgraduate, English language and literature, the School of Foreign language of Jinan University, Guangzhou, China
November 5, 2022


Jesmyn Ward’s third novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing, however, is Ward’s second work to have won the National Book Award for fiction. It was Sing that laid a solid foundation for Ward’s reception from the American literary circle as a powerful new voice. Sing focuses on a black family in the American south, which was nearly torn apart by poverty, drugs, and racial discrimination; Apart from the estranged kinship in the black family, represented by ghost Richie, the black group in the novel also shows a seemingly strong desire for identity. Based on Erich Fromm’s alienation theory and his theories of love, this paper gives an analysis of the alienation of the protagonist at the level of love and racial identity and focuses on the struggle of the black group to survive in the white mainstream society, which resulted in their dual lack and dual pursuit of love and identity. This paper aims to reveal Ward’s fierce criticism of racist ideology that has caused the double dilemma of survival and spirit of black people in the American South and demonstrate her deep understanding as well as support for the ideals and actions of African Americans in terms of their eagerness to integrate into the mainstream society.