“Word-work is sublime, she thinks, because it is generative; it makes meaning that secures our difference, our human difference–the way in which we are like not other life. We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” -Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison’s epigraph led me to think about this experience of writing and reading blog posts when she says, “Word-work is sublime, she thinks, because it is generative; it makes meaning that secures our difference, our human difference–the way in which we are like not other life. We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” Much like how each member of our class came up with different ideas for blog posts while completing the same task, this quote means to me that humans as a whole share connections and together make up a unique species. Although each individual person is different with a unique path, we all have similarities that make us human. As humans, we have a voice, and the way we use our voice can determine the importance of our lives. The literature we have read in this class comes back to the theme that having a voice is important and that things or people can be diverse while sharing connections, which makes them human. Continue reading “Final Reflection”
We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.– Toni Morrison, 1993 Nobel Lecture Continue reading “Meaning & Measure”
While looking through my classmates’ blog posts, one that really stood out to me was Maria Papas’s blog post “How Do Institutions Fail You?”. I liked her post because in class, a topic of discussion I found very interesting was the topic of institutions and whether or not any institution can be trusted. In her post she provided examples of quotes from different peers about what it means when an institution has failed them and it was very interesting to see different peoples’ perspectives. Continue reading “Institutions”
Writing my blog post about the connection between Vachel Lindsay’s poem The Congo: A Study of the Negro Race and Victor LaValle’s The Big Machine led me to think about the other inspirations behind the novel. Continue reading “Inspirations”
Throughout reading Victor LaValle’s The Big Machine, I had questions regarding the Devils of the Marsh, Solomon Clay, and how everything in the story tied together. Working in groups after finishing the book today, I found that a lot of us were still trying to piece together what it all meant. However, once our wheels started turning, connections kept coming and we ultimately found what we believe are the answers. Continue reading “Angels from the Congo”
When we discussed Suzan-Lori Parks’s Imperceptible Mutabilities in class the other day, Professor McCoy told us how in the performance of the play, actors stare and single out audience members, making them uncomfortable. This was a big source of criticism for viewers, as it made them uncomfortable to be the subject when they went into the play with the expectation of watching objectively. After learning this play is a commentary on slavery, I believe the intent of this was to make viewers feel the way the Naturalist, along with white people in general, were treating and seeing African Americans as inferior subjects. Continue reading “On Being Subjects”
After writing my previous blog post, “A Close Read of “You and I Are Disappearing””( https://morrison.sunygeneseoenglish.org/2019/03/24/a-close-reading-of-you-and-i-are-disappearing/ ), it was brought to my attention that I misinterpreted the author of the poem. The title of the poem is followed by “Bjorn Hakannson”, however, he is not the author of the poem. As Professor McCoy pointed out to me, the actual author is the same author as the poem “Facing It”, Vietnam War veteran Yusef Komunyakaa. After finding out this information, I re-read the poem with the correct knowledge of the author and interpreted it in a much different way than I had originally. Continue reading “A close RE-reading of “You and I Are Disappearing –Bjorn Hakannson””
An issue we have often discussed in class is the lack of recognition of African American artists’ impact on American culture. Du Bois raises the question in Call & Response, “would America have been America without her Negro people?” (Call & Response 754). Without the contributions of African Americans, what would American culture be today? Much of our American culture exploits and appropriates African Americans and disregards the importance of their art in our society. Du Bois, in his writings displayed in Call & Response, discusses the role African Americans had in building up America and the importance of their music. Without African Americans and their contributions, American culture would not be the same today.
Continue reading “Stolen Songs”
Black authors are not as represented in literature as white authors, and thus “black literature is taught as sociology, as tolerance, not as a serious, rigorous art form”(Toni Morrison). In class, we watched Chimamanda Adichie’s TED talk about the problems “single stories” create. Adichie tells of how the single story of Africa inhibits African writers, like herself, from receiving the same recognition as white, western writers. She explained how living in Africa, she grew up reading books with all white characters. When she submitted a story, a professor told her it was not “authentically” African, even though she herself was an African writer. This problem circles back to Morrison’s idea that African American works of literature are often depicted as less than serious works of literature and art, and are expected to convey the “single story” of being African American. Great works of literature written by African Americans should be recognized as such.
Continue reading “The Hindrance of the Single Story”