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"The Gulf of Dislike" Between Reality and Resemblance in Bernard Shaw's "The Black Girl in Search of God"

"The Gulf of Dislike" Between Reality and Resemblance in Bernard Shaw's "The Black Girl in Search... BETWEEN REALITY AND RESEMBLANCE IN BERNARD SHAW'S "THE BLACK GIRL IN SEARCH OF GOD"1 To many readers, Bernard Shaw's "The Black Girl in Search of God" is as strange a tale as one may find among his oeuvre. Shaw's use of the shortstory format, for one, makes it distinct, but its central character makes it significant even among his other short stories, those "lesser tales." Leon Hugo, in "The Black Girl and Some Lesser Quests: 1932­1934," comments that this story is "a sport in Shaw's work; there is nothing else like it, no religious or other fable, no parable, no black or other girl setting out on any picaresque adventure, anywhere."2 Shaw himself called it "a most frightfully blasphemous religious story."3 Even though "The Black Girl" harshly critiques forms of religious usury, or what Shaw called "the commercial theory of the atonement," the story is not in fact a denigration of any particular religious faith or its followers. As Shaw explained in a letter to Clara Kennedy, "The Black Girl is in no sense an attack on missionaries as such . . . I am myself a missionary. . . . The black girl's search led her to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png SHAW The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies Penn State University Press

"The Gulf of Dislike" Between Reality and Resemblance in Bernard Shaw's "The Black Girl in Search of God"

SHAW The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies , Volume 23 (1)

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 The Pennsylvania State University
ISSN
1529-1480
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Abstract

BETWEEN REALITY AND RESEMBLANCE IN BERNARD SHAW'S "THE BLACK GIRL IN SEARCH OF GOD"1 To many readers, Bernard Shaw's "The Black Girl in Search of God" is as strange a tale as one may find among his oeuvre. Shaw's use of the shortstory format, for one, makes it distinct, but its central character makes it significant even among his other short stories, those "lesser tales." Leon Hugo, in "The Black Girl and Some Lesser Quests: 1932­1934," comments that this story is "a sport in Shaw's work; there is nothing else like it, no religious or other fable, no parable, no black or other girl setting out on any picaresque adventure, anywhere."2 Shaw himself called it "a most frightfully blasphemous religious story."3 Even though "The Black Girl" harshly critiques forms of religious usury, or what Shaw called "the commercial theory of the atonement," the story is not in fact a denigration of any particular religious faith or its followers. As Shaw explained in a letter to Clara Kennedy, "The Black Girl is in no sense an attack on missionaries as such . . . I am myself a missionary. . . . The black girl's search led her to

Journal

SHAW The Annual of Bernard Shaw StudiesPenn State University Press

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