The Plantation to the Penitentiary: Monster’s Ball and Bodies at Their Limits

  • Christopher Lloyd


This chapter explores the historical trajectory from the southern plantation to the contemporary prison’s regulation of black bodies. Reading Marc Forster’s film Monster’s Ball (2001) in light of this racialized continuum, the chapter argues that the film traffics in physical, psychic, and geographical spaces of southern memory. Following the film’s focus on its characters’ bodies—vomiting, breathless, fat, thin, incarcerated—the argument is that memories of violence in the past are traced through to contemporary practices in the present. Beginning with a discussion of the plantation to penitentiary narrative, the chapter tracks bodies that are both static and also coming apart. The film embeds memory into southerners that live in the shadow of the prison and its past.


Prison studies Plantation Marc Forster Sexuality Consumption 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Lloyd
    • 1
  1. 1.School of HumanitiesUniversity of HertfordshireHatfieldUK

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