Who Set You Flowin'? The African-American Migration Narrative

By Farah Jasmine Griffin | Go to book overview

5
New Directions for the Migration Narrative: Thoughts on Jazz

Instead of pretending to sum up everything in a neat and tidy manner, I want to initiate a more sustained reading of one migration narrative-- Toni Morrison Jazz. Because Morrison's novel challenges the framework presented within these pages, it serves to open rather than close any further discussion of the migration narrative.

Toni Morrison's oeuvre attests to the dispossession, displacement, and mobility that characterize black life in the Americas. The Bluest Eye ( 1970) and Sula ( 1974) are both situated around the migration of significant characters. Tar Baby ( 1981) explores the lives of "cultural exiles" 1 who live on a Caribbean island. Beloved ( 1987) documents the life of a runaway slave, Sethe, as well as the forced and volunteer wanderings of African-Americans following the Civil War and during the Nadir. As I have demonstrated, Song of Solomon ( 1977) is an especially important migration narrative, but Jazz ( 1992) is Morrison's most explicit migration narrative to date. It revisits the theme of black mobility and modernity. In so doing, it explicitly revises some of the most important tropes of the migration narrative--tropes that Morrison helped to define through her creative and critical writings.

In Jazz, Morrison still considers the major moments of the migration narrative: the catalyst to migration, the initial confrontation with the urban landscape, the navigation of that landscape, and the construction of the urban subject. Nevertheless, she challenges her own notions of the possibility of the city for the migrant and she introduces a new notion of the ancestor.

Jazz was published in 1992. It spent eleven weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list and even longer on the Blackboard African-American bestsellers list.

Jazz is the story of Joe and Violet Trace and Joe's dead teenage lover, Dorcas. All three are migrants to the city. At the novel's opening, Joe has murdered Dorcas and Violet attends Dorcas's funeral in order to stab the corpse. The novel's primary narrator is a quirky, often unreliable, omniscient presence. As with a jazz performance, the characters are given their solos, moments to flourish--but they

-184-

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.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

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

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Who Set You Flowin'? The African-American Migration Narrative
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
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?

Full screen
/ 236

matching results for page

Cited passage

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

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

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.