Writing the Deceased Back to Life: A Sin or an Honor

In class yesterday we talked about the concerns around narrating the lives of those who have died.  More specifically, we talked about what it means to give life to those who traveled on the Middle Passage.  In Hartman’s “Venus in Two Acts,” we read about double-edged sword that Hartman struggles with every day; she wants to tell the stories of the slaves in the archives, but claims they have “impossible stories to tell.”  This desire to tell someone’s story, but worry which constrains that desire, is something I constantly find myself struggling with.  This leads me to further question what it actually means to narrate the lives of those who have passed away.  Hartman writes how we, writers, could never do the lost lives justice.  While I believe this claim to an extent, I think that writers may write in a way that commends the lives that were lost.  Continue reading “Writing the Deceased Back to Life: A Sin or an Honor”

Baby Suggs vs Bernice Johnson Reagon

Hello all!

I found today’s video to be really interesting.  I was reminded of Baby Suggs’ religious speakings when Bernice Johnson Reagon was talking/singing.  Reagon explained how communal singing announced that black people “were here”–that they existed.  I think that Baby Suggs’ spoken “Word” allowed black people to feel a similar sense of belonging.

This is from page 103, explaining how Baby Suggs’ preaching came about: “It started that way: laughing children, dancing men, crying women and then it got mixed up.  Women stopped crying and danced, men sat down and cried, children danced; children danced, women laughed, children cried until, exhausted and riven, all and each lay about the clearing damp and gasping for breath.  In the silence that followed, Baby Suggs, holy, offered up to them her great big heart.”

I think what Reagon does is similar to Baby Suggs in that she raises people the same way Baby Suggs does.  Baby Suggs tried to get as many people as possible to join in, and Reagon does the same.   Morrison writes that the black people were “gasping for breath.”  From this image, I pictured Reagon singing with others.

One of my favorite things that Reagon said was how, when black people sing together, they say “I” instead of “We.”  “We” implies the presence and inclusion of white people, while “I” brings together African Americans alone.  I enjoyed listening to her explain this.

Do you think Baby Suggs and Reagon are similar?  Do you notice any differences?


A “Florens Found Poem”

In class the other day we talked about how Florens is a poet.  I myself am partial to poetry and so I thought I would enjoy creating a “found poem” from Florens’ chapters in the novel.  While I may have changed a word here or there, almost of the lines I have used are straight out of “A Mercy.”

I Unfold

Your back looks like whatever the sky holds.

Continue reading “A “Florens Found Poem””

I’m Infatuated by Florens’ Infatuation


During this week’s reading we learn through Lina that the “you” Florens continually addresses is a blacksmith–a FREE black man who worked on the estate Lina and Florens reside at.

During her sections, Florens repeatedly displays her infatuation with this blacksmith: Continue reading “I’m Infatuated by Florens’ Infatuation”

Buzzfeed: Assorted Toni Morrison Quotes

Hi all! I recently came across this Buzzfeed article of Morrison’s quotes.  They are truly beautiful and if you haven’t started to read “A Mercy” yet, I think this is a nice taste of her writings and speeches.

Which is your favorite & why? I love “We die.  That may be the meaning of life.  But we do language.  That may be the measure of our lives.” Continue reading “Buzzfeed: Assorted Toni Morrison Quotes”