I snapped this jpg at the antique store in Pendleton, SC — not more than 3 miles from campus. These cast iron coin banks cost $35.00 each. I’m not sure when or where they were made.
Check out the gestures. The nourishing Negress (as Barthes would call her) looks like she’s ready to pitch an epic niggerbitchfit based on the way she’s got her hands on her hips. And the male one — well, I guess he had better have his hat in his hands.
For some reason, this arrangement of these three objects reminds me of “Trueblood and his women” in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. Throwbacks of the most grotesque design, they are. (I’m talking about the Truebloods AND the figurines, by the way.) The genius of the Trueblood scene is the way Ellison writes Truebloods’ intricate testimonial as a thing that functions for commodified exchange. It’s brilliant where Trueblood says, “But what I don’t understand is how I done the worse thing a man can do in his own family and ‘stead of things gittin’ bad, they got better” (68). In uniting a critique of Freudian oedipal desire and Marxian material analysis, Ellison depicts the notion of a/cute monopoly. These incestuous circumstances of “keeping it in the family” is taken to extremes and allows Trueblood to capitalize on the sentiments held by Norton, the wealthy white donor to the invisible man‘s college.
These themes connect very closely to the daddy-mommy-me trinity as described in Anti-Oedipus.