Ending on a Lighter Note

I hope finals week is treating all of you well. That being said, it’s been a challenging year, and I know everyone is likely busy and/or exhausted, so I wanted to share something a little lighter before the semester is out.

This is a brief Stephen Colbert interview with Toni Morrison back from 2014, when he had his old show. For those not familiar with his shtick, his character is a far-right conservative that often brings arguments to their extremes–needless to say, he’s brutally sarcastic. This interview is short, but very entertaining, and, in typical fashion, Morrison manages to share some wisdom in the middle of it all. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.


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”

Morrison and the Bible

So I’ve been struggling trying to come up with what to write for a final post. I mentioned to a majority of you in class that I am interested in writing on Morrison’s discourse on religion. This made me decide to go on a hunt to see if I could find Bible references that correspond with Morrison’s works, as her works clearly focus on western religion. Continue reading “Morrison and the Bible”

Toni Morrison’s relation to novels

I took one creative writing class last semester just because I figured I’d give it a try, so in no way am I an expert in creative writing. I just remember that I learned “Form is never more than an expression of content.” It made me think about how Toni Morrison uses the structure of the novel to write and how important that is for the messages she tries to get across. I think that novels give her enough space to create multiple characters, giving multiple perspectives which emphasize the necessity of varying interpretations, instead of relying on “the single story.” Continue reading “Toni Morrison’s relation to novels”

Hip Hop in the Classroom “Crossroads Collective”

Today one of the topics that was discussed in one of the groups I was in was the idea of bringing hip hop and rap into classrooms and relating it to literature, current events, etc. I previously attended Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT and in my sociology class, we had a guest lecture by another QU professor who teaches a very similar class in his free time at a New Haven high school. Continue reading “Hip Hop in the Classroom “Crossroads Collective””

Morrison, Dante and Structure

Despite having the syllabus all semester and never hearing anything about it, I assumed for the majority of the course that there would be some kind of big analytical paper about Toni Morrison’s trilogy to do at the end. I had this imaginary assignment in the back of my head for months and I was certain that I would write this paper about Toni Morrison’s structure and organization, as it is what has stood out to me most in all of the novels we’ve covered.

I guess since I can’t have a whole paper, I’ll do some here. I think I’ve already made some posts about structure, but what can I say… I’m a fan of how Morrison uses it.

None of the books we read were perfectly linear; we’d get bits and pieces along the way and there never seemed to be a clear “present” time. We’ve talked during this semester about the unreliability of Morrison’s narrators. Though Morrison’s narrators seem Continue reading “Morrison, Dante and Structure”

Morrison’s Paradise: Online, and Beyond

One of the first things that struck me about Morrison’s Paradise when I first held it in my hands was the sticker on the front referencing Oprah’s book club. While we have had incredible discussions on Paradise this semester, it led me to wonder how the book was received by non-academic readers–people reading Morrison’s work for fun, outside of the classroom atmosphere we have grown used to.  Continue reading “Morrison’s Paradise: Online, and Beyond”

War and Paradise

As I was astounded by how little work has been done regarding Morrison’s Paradise, I looked up my thesis regarding the women’s scenes in “Save-Marie”, and eventually landed on an article discussing some quotes from Morrison herself, regarding the novel’s conception.

As it turns out, Paradise was not the original title- “Paradise just hit bookstores, but Morrison wanted to call it War. It begins with a six-shot staccato sentence: ‘They kill the white girl first.’ Explains Morrison, ‘I wanted to open with somebody’s finger on the trigger, to close when it was pulled, and to have the whole novel exist in that moment of the decision to kill or not.’ Knopf feared the title War might turn off Morrison fans. ‘I’m still not convinced they were right,’ she says.”

Additionally, Morrison was interested in why “Paradise necessitates exclusion.” This, coupled with her interest in naming the novel War, seems to me particularly interesting given the militant clothing and possessions of the women in the end of the novel. Morrison possibly was pointing to the human desperation to get into an exclusionary paradise, and the idea of such a place in and of itself creates violence. This violence appears to be done by those who disagree with one another on who exactly is to be excluded. Thus, the men kill the convent women because they deem them “other,” and redefine Hell based on what they believe is undesireable traits; this violence seems to foreshadow future violence as the women come back prepared to “shoulder the burden,” down in “paradise”.

I think the main idea is that Morrison explores the violence associated with the idea of exclusion.

The short article can be found here:


Morrison and Unlearning Women’s Bodies

While discussing threads/patterns/images/etc. in Toni Morrison’s Paradise and Dante’s Paradiso this week, Emily brought up the idea of working to “unlearn.” Our group applied this to multiple facets of the society we live in today, including our ideas of race and gender. After class, I started to think about unlearning in relation to the way we look at women’s bodies and how that gaze affects the individual woman. The more I thought about it, I came to realize that this is something Morrison also addresses in her novel The Bluest Eye. Continue reading “Morrison and Unlearning Women’s Bodies”