Toni Morrison's World of Fiction

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

Chapter 6
Trilogy in Progress: Beloved and Jazz

After Beloved was published, Morrison felt sure that this, her fifth novel, would be the least read of her writings. Who could imagine people rushing out to buy a book on the horrors of slavery in America? She herself admits to having had a great reluctance to dwell on a subject that would force her to focus on the most painful period in her people's history. She knew that recalling the slave era would be a heart-wrenching experience for her on a very personal level. Nevertheless, she felt a compulsion to write the story because it had to be told. No one had yet told the real story; it seemed no one even wanted to think about the subject in a serious way. Morrison sensed a "national amnesia" surrounding the details of slavery and its aftermath. Not the blacks, not the whites wanted to remember. Significantly, not even the characters she would create for Beloved wanted to remember. 1 The task she set for herself, then, ran the risk of her writing a book that would be shunned. But to Morrison's surprise, Beloved became a best seller that garnered her not only a great deal of critical praise but also a wider readership than she had ever hoped for.

The genesis of the novel goes back to the time when Morrison was working on black literature projects for Random House. While editing The Black Book, a collection of items about the struggle of African-Americans over the course of 300 years, she came across a number of stories about slaves who dared to resist the system. One in particular caught her eye. This was the story of Margaret Garner, a fugitive who had escaped with her children from Kentucky and settled in a neighborhood


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?