Thoughts on the Final Meeting

In today’s final meeting, my group and I spoke about what we have taken away from this semester, and I thought I might share some of the ideas that I took away from the conversation. To begin, I shared some of my own thoughts about the final assignment. I am most interested in exploring Morrison’s storytelling and her “repetition with a difference,” as Linda Krumholz observes. When considering this technique, I am brought back to Saidiya Hartman’s “Venus in Two Acts,” in which Hartman both “mimes the violence of the archive and attempts to redress it by describing as fully as possible the conditions that determine the [historical racial and gender prejudice] and that dictate [the victim’s] silence.” Rehashing the oppression of the slave trade could be dangerous to the black community, but it also has the power to begin redressing the lasting prejudice faced by the black community throughout the last few centuries. Continue reading “Thoughts on the Final Meeting”

“The Unspoken Business of Brows”

On Wednesday, Dr. McCoy challenged the class to take notice of their eyebrows, as well as the eyebrows of others. It’s pretty amazing to think about what something so seemingly insignificant can say about someone’s personality, and it is even more powerful to think about how eyebrows can also shape an outsider’s view of a person. I also find it curious that we are focusing on eyebrows and their significance in both Dante and Morrison, given that brows have become much more of a point of conversation in recent media. There is a new trend of having much thicker, darker, and sculpted brows than was the trend when I was younger. Though I have yet to “make meaning” from this focus on eyebrows, I found an interesting article that talks about the evolving symbolism of eyebrows throughout history, and I look forward to seeing if there is any overlap with Dante or Morrison’s works!

“The love-hate relationship brow aficionados have with their facial hair often has roots in the eyebrow’s most important job (beyond conveying emotion): silently sharing cultural and group affiliations, whether realized or not. Just like clothes and accessories, eyebrows are another way of shaping the impression of our social standing.”

Interdisciplinary Connections on the Limits of Language

** preface – this is about the inability of language to accurately capture and convey ideas, which really comes through in the writing of this post, so please bear with me**

As I sat in my political science class discussing postpositivist international relations (IR) theory, I was struck by the similarities to the conversation that we had on Wednesday about the inability of language to capture concepts/beliefs/ideologies. Continue reading “Interdisciplinary Connections on the Limits of Language”

A Morrison Interview and a New Take on Jazz

In my discussion group, we entertained the question of Morrison’s trilogy. Why are these three works considered her trilogy, as opposed to her other works? Did she intend for them to be a series from the outset? Did she introduce them as a trilogy or was it her editors? I did some searching, and I couldn’t find out when the term trilogy was first introduced to these three works, but I did find an interview in which Morrison calls them the trilogy (at this point, she was still working on Paradise.) In this interview, Morrison provides some insight into her writing process, as well as her perspectives on writing Beloved and Jazz. Among many very insightful and clarifying statements from Morrison, I found an excerpt about Jazz that I found particularly interesting in relation to the last chapter of Jazz. Continue reading “A Morrison Interview and a New Take on Jazz”

Sound in Beloved

(Plot Spoiler if you haven’t finished the reading for 9/26) On Wednesday, Ken brought up that Morrison might have chosen Paradise as the title for the final work in her trilogy simply because she likes the way it sounds, and Dr. Beth wrote the word “sound” on the board. I was instantly reminded of some thoughts on the usage of sound in Beloved that I had when I first read the novel, and I thought I would share them here. In Dr. Beth’s class, I was introduced to Bernice Johnson Reagon who observed that “sound is a way to extend the territory you can affect…so people can walk into you way before they can get close to your body.” Morrison mirrors this extension of our beings in Beloved. Continue reading “Sound in Beloved”

Morrison’s Potential Inspiration

I don’t mean to jump ahead, but Sara’s post got me thinking about Morrison and her potential motives for her writing. I too have been exploring some of the intersections between Beloved and A Mercy that I have seen so far (I haven’t finished A Mercy yet). I was intrigued by Sara’s question, “What inspired Morrison, if not her own personal experience of discrimination?” This then reminded me of one of the questions brought up in the first class meeting: “How can we parallel Morrison’s work to what we see in society today?” While I can’t speak for Morrison, I like to believe that at the end of the day, Morrison, like many others, is trying to achieve a more equitable society through her writing. Continue reading “Morrison’s Potential Inspiration”