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Jon Towlson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781911325543

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781911325543.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 28 November 2021

Candyman and the Return of the Repressed

Candyman and the Return of the Repressed

(p.59) 4. Candyman and the Return of the Repressed

Jon Towlson

Liverpool University Press

This chapter presents a textual analysis of Candyman (1992). The film at first appears to be a product of white liberal guilt at the plight of poor African-Americans; Helen Lyle lives in an expensive apartment originally built as another part of the projects but later sold by the housing authority as a going concern and turned into designer condos. Likewise, Helen is seen working on her research at the University, while black menial workers toil as cleaners in the background well aware of the legend of the Candyman. However, Bernard Rose consciously invokes American history and the oppression of ethnic minorities in his backstory for Tony Todd's Candyman character: the origin of the Candyman is based on a public lynching and plays on the fear of retribution for the historical ill-treatment of African-Americans. Candyman/Daniel Robitaille was the son of a slave, a free man who came into money, schooled, and brought up in polite society. His crime was that of miscegenation: he fell in love with a white girl, whom he made pregnant; his punishment was a horrible death.

Keywords:   Candyman, white liberal guilt, poor African-Americans, Helen Lyle, Bernard Rose, American history, minority oppression, ethnic minorities, public lynching, miscegenation

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