Toni Morrison Reclaiming the dead girl in Toni Morrison’s Jazz Basic Information




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TitleToni Morrison Reclaiming the dead girl in Toni Morrison’s Jazz Basic Information
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Toni Morrison

Reclaiming the dead girl in Toni Morrison’s Jazz

Basic Information

  • African American writer

  • Born Chloe Anthony Wofford, 1931

  • Did not start writing for real until divorced

  • Needed to claim the “dead girl” inside

  • Has 9 novels published

  • 1993 Nobel prize in literature for Beloved

  • Issues: Political, historical, racial, postcolonial, women – how women displace themselves



“And so it looked as though the world was going by and I was not in that world. I used to live in this world, I mean really live in it. I knew it. I used to belong here. And at some point I didn’t belong here anymore. I was somebody’s parent, somebody’s this, somebody’s that, but there was no me in the world. And I was looking for that dead girl and I thought I might talk about that dead girl, if for no other reason than to have it, somewhere in the world, in a drawer […] I was everybody [her characters]. And as I began to do it […] I fell in love with myself. I reclaimed myself and the world” (Morrison 1985).

The Trilogy

  • Wrote a trilogy, Beloved, Jazz and Paradise

  • Theme: Love

  • Morrison was inspired by stories, articles and pictures

  • Main focus now: Jazz

  • Period: 1873 – 1926 – where Beloved leaves off

  • Love theme: Romantic love



Jazz

  • Nature versus the City (New York, Harlem)

  • Narrator

  • Violet and Joe Trace, Dorcas

  • Violet’s “cracks” -Violet and that Violet

  • Golden Grey - black and white

  • Generations of motherless mothers & daughters



Jazz

  • Destruction and healing -triangle

  • Slavery – aftermath

  • A connection between Beloved and Wild?

  • My take on Jazz: Postcolonial with focus on identity or loss of identity, the female experience

  • Reclaiming history/past



Jazz

  • Encourages the reader to participate –to read and re-read the story – to reclaim the past of every African American

  • Healing power of old and familiar love

  • Violet reclaiming the dead girl inside



Thank you!

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