Toni Morrison

1337 words 6 pages
Toni Morrison

The issue of abandonment and the will that it takes to survive the hardship of it is a reoccurring theme in Toni Morrison's writing. Tar Baby, Sula and Paradise all deal with the issue of abandonment and how it relates to the characters in her stories. "Through her fiction, Toni Morrison intends to present problems, not their answers" (Moon). Her stated aim is to show "how to survive whole in a world where we are all of us, in some measure, victims of something." (Morrison) Morrison's broad vision extends beyond the individual to one that explores self-discovery in relation to a "shared history." In order to dramatize the destructive effects of this kind of dependency, she intentionally exaggerates to find the limits. In a
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A. LaVallee writes: "Central to the race traitor idea is the disassociation from and racist perspective on the traitor's race of ethnic group." At the sight of his "Wild, aggressive, vicious hair" (113) she immediately classifies him as a criminal. In her room she assumes that Son wants to rape her:
"You rape me and they'll feed you to the alligators. Count on it, nigger. You good as dead right now." "Rape? Why you little white girls always think somebody's trying to rape you?"
"White?" She was startled out of fury. "I'm not … you know I'm not white!"
"No? Then why don't you settle down and stop acting like it."
"Oh, God," she moaned. "Oh, good God, I think you better throw me out of the window because as soon as you let me loose I am going to kill you. For that alone. Just for that. For pulling that black-woman-white-woman shit on me. Never mind the rest. What you said before, that was nasty and mean, but if you think you can get away with telling me what a black woman is or ought to be…"
"I can tell you." (121)
This passage reveals that Jadine has abandoned her heritage and culture. She knows herself to be "inauthentic" and hollow when she sees the woman in yellow with the tar-colored skin--" that woman's woman-that mother/sister/she; that unphotographable beauty" (46). The woman recognizes Jadine's inauthenticity and spits at her in spite. Jadine, who alternately calls herself Jade, appreciates Picasso over Itumba masks, "Ave


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