Toni Morrison's World of Fiction

By Karen Carmean | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Chapter 5
Tar Baby

In an interview following the publication of Tar Baby, her fourth novel, Morrison said that she had given herself "permission to write books that do not depend on anyone's liking them." She added that "a writer does not always write in the ways others wish." Apparently many people did actually wish that Tar Baby had been written differently, because it turned out to be Morrison's least popular work. In the same interview, Morrison indicated that instead of popularity what concerned her most was that "the writing gets better." Asked if she was satisfied that she was indeed continuing to grow as an artist, she took a look at her career and concluded that, yes, she could see some lines of development with the help of "hindsight." She noted that "from a book that focused on a pair of very young black girls, to move to a pair of adult women, and then to a black man, and finally to a black man and a black woman is evolutionary." Also, she thought that her writing was now marked with a finer sense of economy and structure and "more courage." 1 To these positive developments she might have added several more. For example, in Tar Baby she chose to employ a more dramatic as opposed to a heavily descriptive kind of writing. She dared to bring myth, legends, and folklore even more to the forefront, along with the African idea of a conscious nature. For the first time, she presented both black and white characters who play major roles. She extended her canvas, moving from the "village" setting typical of her first three novels to the Caribbean and beyond. Additional examples of her development could be cited. But let it simply be said that despite the


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Toni Morrison's World of Fiction


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 132

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?