Heterotopic Nightmares and Coming of Age in <em>Elijah of Buxton</em>: Mobility and Maturation

  • Danielle E. Price
Keywords: mobility, heterotopia, coming of age, slavery, signification


A mobility perspective is essential to reading Christopher Paul Curtis’s Elijah of Buxton, as the trope of the journey is fundamental to African American coming-of-age novels. Eleven-year old Elijah Freeman travels from the security of his home to two locations, one in each half of the novel. Drawing on the work of Foucault, this paper characterizes these places as heterotopias (other places). These sites contrast mobility and stasis, allow Elijah to experience what W. E. B. Du Bois calls “double consciousness,” increase Elijah’s understanding of signifying, and illuminate lessons about slavery for both the protagonist and the reader.


DOI: 10.1353/jeu.2016.0009

Author Biography

Danielle E. Price

Danielle E. Price is a lecturer in English and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Windsor. She specializes in nineteenth- and twentieth-century British literature as well as children’s literature. Her publications include material on Mary Webb, Frances Hodgson Burnett, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, James Barrie, and William Blake. She is particularly interested in representations of children and place within their literary and cultural contexts, and is currently writing an article on the Victorian fairy tale and disability.

How to Cite
Price, D. E. (2016). Heterotopic Nightmares and Coming of Age in <em>Elijah of Buxton</em&gt;: Mobility and Maturation. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 8(1). Retrieved from https://jeunessejournal.ca/index.php/yptc/article/view/304
Articles for Special Issue on Mobility