This essay considers some of the ethical implications of intersections of anger and gender in the genre of the dramatic monologue. Drawing from Virginia Woolf’s observations in A Room of One’s Own and an essay on EBB, I link Woolf’s meditations on the fictitious “I” to the problematics of its use in EBB’s “The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point.” Although the features of the genre can still cause productive debate, the “I” is the pedestal upon which all dramatic monologues stand, absolutely and inevitably, and I argue that we have not yet fully come to terms with the ethics and ontology of this speaking subject, the implicated “I.” The Runaway Slave articulates for herself, in the course of her speaking, a form of discursive self-possession, of human being, and yet the poem also enacts the speaker’s racialized displacement from the genre itself.
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Pearsall, Cornelia D.J., "The Implicated 'I': Fictitiousness, Fury, Form" (2020). English Language and Literature: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.