Toni Morrison's Developing Class Consciousness

Toni Morrison's Developing Class Consciousness

Toni Morrison's Developing Class Consciousness

Toni Morrison's Developing Class Consciousness

Synopsis

"Toni Morrison scholars as well as those interested in the creative process will be excited about a new feature that appears in this second edition of this book a sampling of Toni Morrison's creative process. In Part Two of this critical work, the author s"

Excerpt

I first became aware of developmental patterns in Toni Morrison's canon after teaching her novels for a number of years. It has always been my practice to reread literary works along with the students in my classes no matter how often I might have already read them. This practice of rereading, as well as my habit of letting the classroom force me to analyze elements of works that I am otherwise too lazy to analyze, helped me to spot these patterns.

In each of her novels, Morrison explores some aspect of and/or solution to the oppression afflicting African people. The Bluest Eye examines racism; Sula, gender oppression; Song of Solomon, the necessity of knowing one's family, community, and heritage; Tar Baby, the class contradictions that keep African people divided; and Beloved, the solution that will help solve the class exploitation and racial oppression of African people.

While commendable, the exploration of these various themes did not seem extraordinary until I saw the thread that runs through and connects novel after novel. One work picks up where the other one leaves off, thematically and structurally.

Certainly, no one could choose and develop such themes as racism, gender oppression, the importance of knowing one's history in determining one's identity, class exploitation of and class contradictions within the African race, and collective struggle without herself having a commitment to struggle for African people. And certainly no one would be concerned enough to shape her works into narrative structures that enhance the themes without herself being interested in turning theory into practice. If the works didn't tell me this, the many interviews and various critical essays on Morrison—once pieced together—did.

Assured of Toni Morrison's increasing commitment to help solve the problems of African people, I began to think about the particular nature of the evolutionary pattern—why, for example, Morrison examines problems of race and gender oppression before exploring class contradictions within the race. It became clear that Morrison . . .

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