“Nobody gets out alive. This place just a big coffin”:  On Death and Dying in American Prisons Cover Image
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“Nobody gets out alive. This place just a big coffin”: On Death and Dying in American Prisons
“Nobody gets out alive. This place just a big coffin”: On Death and Dying in American Prisons

Author(s): Raluca Andreescu
Subject(s): Studies of Literature, Novel
Published by: Editura Universitatii LUCIAN BLAGA din Sibiu
Keywords: prison literature; death; mortification; solitary confinement; rape; suicide; murder; social death; civil death;

Summary/Abstract: This article explores the manner in which the narratives in the Prison Noir volume (2014) edited by Joyce Carol Oates bring into view the limits and abusive practices of the American criminal justice system within the confines of one of its most secretive sites, the prison. Taking an insider‟s perspective – all stories are written by award-winning former or current prisoners – the volume creates room for the usually silent voices of those incarcerated in correctional facilities throughout the United States. The article engages the effects of “prisonization” and the subsequent mortification of inmates by focusing on images of death and dying in American prisons, whether understood as a „social death,‟ the isolation from any meaningful intercourse with society, as a „civil death,‟ the stripping away of citizenship rights and legal protections, or as the physical termination of life as a result of illness, murder, suicide or state-sponsored execution.

  • Issue Year: 2017
  • Issue No: 29
  • Page Range: 65-83
  • Page Count: 19
  • Language: English