Happy Thanksgiving! (?)

Paradise ends without justice for the people affected by the violences which occur in the novel.  Dr. Beth encouraged us to consider what the effect of, what some people in class have described as, an unsatisfying ending.  Specifically, what this absence of justice pushes us to consider as students at a state school on occupied land.  As Dr. Beth called attention to the absence of justice and reparations given to peoples violated by a historical through-line of state-sponsored violence, I glanced up at the whiteboard in the classroom with “Happy Thanksgiving!” sprawled across it.  Continue reading “Happy Thanksgiving! (?)”

Jazz music and “Jazz”

I like the connection Daisy (https://morrison.sunygeneseoenglish.org/2016/10/19/jazz-and-listening/) makes between the reactions based on listening made between musicians on this bandstand and between the characters in Jazz.  Harris highlights that this conversation between artists on a bandstand sometimes stems from what some people perceive as “mistakes”.  He asserts that “the only mistake is if… each individual musician is not aware and accepting enough of his fellow band member.  If we don’t allow for creativity”.  This creativity results from individuals’ ability to listen and react to people they are with.  Violet’s decision to stay with Joe is, in part, a response to a (violent, harmful) mistake he made.  Through her interactions with Alice, she gains awareness and accepts her fellow band member, Joe, resulting in the creativity in their relationship that the reader sees at the end of the book.  I wonder what other meaning we can make if we see Jazz and Jazz as a conversation between musicians (lovers?) which invites creativity.   Continue reading “Jazz music and “Jazz””

A Different Take on “Flesh”

In Rachel’s post, she points to the etymology of the word “flesh” in the lines “Jacob flinched.  Flesh was not his commodity”.  She suggests that when he does trade enslaved people, he views them as bodies; as fungible, mutually interchangeable, as in without individual personhood.  

I’d like to examine these lines through a different lens. If I remember correctly, Dr. McCoy suggested in class that this line may give the reader insight into how Jacob makes peace with the violence he takes part in.  He says he only trades commodities which are raw goods such as gold and coffee.  Jacob has a physical reaction to the suggestion that D’Ortega settle his debt with enslaved people.  He winces and says he does not trade flesh (25). This suggests that he does not want to trade enslaved people.  He is content with trading raw goods.  However, these goods are produced through the violent exploitation of enslaved people.  Therefore, he does trade in flesh.  He is an integral part of the capitalist loop that upholds chattel slavery.  The line “flesh was not his commodity” is untrue not only because he ends up settling his debt through the trade of a human, but because he profits directly from the system he’s attempting to reject.

Continue reading “A Different Take on “Flesh””