goto Appendx main menu Emancipation Theory : Milton S. F. Curry
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 The garret was the relegation to a space unseen, the hiding of an embarassment.
The representation of jungle, the isolation of black women, and the personification of spatial structures are the thematic imperatives of Morrison's work in Beloved. Brent's narrative, even in its privileging of a certain kind of slave to represent, makes Appendx 1 page break 79 | 80 some of Morrison's claims even before she does. The introduction to Brent's narrative, while acting to authenticate the account, also acts to establish motive—motive for Brent to stay in the garret space, with all of its inadequacies as a space of reprieve, rather than assume some other form of risk. "She uses her garret cell as a war room from which to spy on her enemy and to wage psychological warfare against him."21  The garret had implications for the political order as a space where war is planned and enacted, but also as a space of detached authority and isolated presence. The space of the garret, for Brent, was horrorful and haunted, but significantly she shifts the agony onto the oppressor. Once again, the empowerment of that space by Brent is analogous to Baby Suggs's comment about 124—that it is as good a place as any to try to begin to carve out a space of freedom, even within confining situations. The idea is that power does not only reside at the hand of the oppressor, but also in the created site of political activity, wherever it may be. 
    From her cramped hiding place, she manipulates the sale of her children to their father, arranges for her daughter to be taken north, tricks her master into believing that she has left the South, and quite literally directs a performance in which Dr. Flint plays the fool while she watches, unseen.22 
The garret is a spatial void, surrounded by the solidity of the structures of oppression. Unlike the space in 124, the garret is a finite, strategic venue from which one navigates. It solidifies slavery as a physical thing that makes space hierarchical and oppressive. Brent empowered that space, using it as a space of subversion, a "narrow zone of scrutiny." Jean Yellin, in her introduction, uses these words to describe Brent's actions: "manipulates," "arranges," "tricks," "directs," and "watches." The subversive discourse for Brent is happening within the site of the power position of the master; furthermore, it is enacted by a subject that presents itself as agencyless, or hidden. 
    The garret was only nine feet long and seven wide. The highest part was three feet high, and sloped down abruptly to the loose board floor. There was no admission for either light or air.23 
In the space of the garret, there is no transparency. It is an assault on humanity itself. In it, we find representations of essential breakdowns in our society, whether they occur in the political, patriarchal, or economic orders. The assault is constant, unre Appendx 1 page break 80 | 81 lenting, brutal. References to the garret as a den or cell speak to the prisonlike nature of that space. The enclosure that the garret provided, however, gave way to freedom—an improvement over other conditions, such as the institution of slavery. The garret was the relegation to a space unseen, the hiding of an embarrassment. 

For Brent, the garret was made meaningful to her as a "loophole of retreat," as she titles the twenty-first chapter.24 Within the garret, Brent humanizes that small, tight, cramped space and establishes a functional aesthetic. "The continued darkness was oppressive,"25 but in spite of its oppressiveness, Brent established everyday practices that activated the space. "I bored three rows of holes, one above another."26 "I sat by it till late into the night, to enjoy the little whiff of air that floated in. In the morning I watched for my children."27 

The garret was like a prison cell, but in many ways it was more like Bentham's panopticon tower.28 The holes allowed Brent not only to see out, but to Appendx 1 page break 81 | 82 observe the everyday lives of her children and her captor. The real captor, slavery, was what held the two worlds of oppression in tension, in concealment of each other. The panopticon model of power and discipline privileges visibility and unverifiability, both established by a threat of constant surveillance. Brent was surveilled by the captor of slavery; slavery and its disciplinary practices were surveilled by one of its resistant captives. This was the world the institution of slavery had produced. next page

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