I know in class today Daisy mentioned how a character chart would be helpful. While this resource isn’t a “chart” per se, it certainly has a coherent description of each character in the novel. I hope this is helpful.
“’No, no. That’s not the way. I told you to put her human characteristics on the left; her animal ones on the right.’” (Beloved 228)
Today somebody in class brought up the part in Beloved in which Schoolteacher dehumanizes Sethe by teaching children that she is like an animal. I too recalled this part of Beloved while reading Paradise and saw even further how cruel and ignorant it is to dehumanize a human being for their race. However cruel and ignorant it is, it seems commonplace in the setting of Morrison’s books. It struck me hard when I read about Ruby’s death on page 113 and how it was entirely due to racism. Continue reading “Sethe and Ruby: Dehumanization”
I’d like to share an incredibly prescient article written by Toni Morrison in 2015 in which she expresses her belief that art is a form of defiance and healing. Considering the outcome of the presidential election last week, I think we might benefit from reading Morrison’s thoughts on using art to fight back. She concludes her article by writing:
“I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge—even wisdom. Like art.”
I took a day before posting this in the efforts to try to collect my thoughts in order to display them here cohesively. First, I’d like to thank you all. After undoubtedly an emotion-filled Tuesday night, I was very comforted that this was my first class after the election results. I really believe this class has created a very safe, comforting atmosphere where people feel that they can honestly discuss their opinions without the fear of letting “too much” emotion show- and that is in part facilitated by Beth, but also everyone else in the room contributes to that. I’m sure this is a common thought, but thank you all for letting everyone react however they needed to.
Next, when we were reading in class I kept coming back to this, on page 7:
“Words that seemed at first to bless them; later to confound them; finally to announce that they had lost.”
Thought I would do a more detailed post after sharing that slam piece.
I would like to spend a little bit of time writing about the prominence of the color green in Paradise. The first page that I noticed it on was page 7, when the men are raiding the Convent. Morrison wrote: “The man eyes the kitchen sink. He moves to the long table and lifts the pitcher of milk. He sniffs it first and then, the pistol in his right hand, he uses his left to raise the pitcher to his mouth, taking such long, measured swallows the milk his half gone before he smells the wintergreen.” Immediately when I hear the word “wintergreen” I think of mint. I googled wintergreen to see if it has some sort of medicinal properties, and it does. Continue reading “Paradise is Going Green”
For those of you who might not have seen it, I just wanted to share an article that Dr.McCoy alluded to in our class the other day and had retweeted on twitter. Jamelle Bouie’s “White Won” is both a look at some of the initial emotions following the results from Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning and is an attempt to discuss our nation’s “long cycle of progress and backlash.” I think that the article provides an interesting dialogue to the currently ongoing and expanding conversation, as well as relates to the topic of churning that we have seen throughout Morrison’s works.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend who is taking a Morrison class at another university sent me a link to this Toni Morrison essay and insisted I read it. At the time, I was eager to do so simply because it was Morrison. Now, though, it seems more relevant than ever. I am sharing the link here with you, and perhaps we can let Morrison guide us through with her words, as we did so in class this week.
In Paradise, Morrison returns us as readers to tracking and tracing. “Ruby” begins a cascade that attends to the violence of those concepts, but I urge you at the same time also to be alert to how the novel insists once again on the both/and.
As part of that, here’s a link to a searchable (yes) index of the “Lost Friends” column that ran in the New Orleans Southwestern Christian Advocate. The column, according to the site’s homepage, ran for decades after 1877, and was composed of “messages from individuals seeking loved ones lost in slavery.”