In Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination Morrison rejects the theory that American literature reflects white male views. She argues that Africanism, a term she uses for the denotative and connotative blackness that African peoples have come to signify (Morrison, Playing, 6), has had a crucial presence in American literature throughout the years. Morrison writes, These speculations have led me to wonder whether the major and championed characteristics of our national literature individualism, masculinity, social engagement versus historical isolation; acute and ambiguous moral problematics; the thematics of innocence coupled with an obsession with death and hell are not in fact responses to a dark, abiding, signing Africanist presence.(Morrison, Playing, 5)
[...] That's why I wrote The Bluest Eye, to find out how it felt” (Bigsby 28). Using writing and her imagination as a way to express herself, she made up characters to put herself in situations that she could not understand. When she attended Howard University, a prominent historically Black university, Morrison became more aware of the harsh lives of many Black Americans, which had been less noticeable in the North. When she joined a repertory company, the Howard University Players, with whom she made several tours of the South, it was then that she saw firsthand the life that her parents had escaped by moving to Ohio. [...]
[...] Her mother does not seem to care much about her. However, Claudia remembers that even though her mother was harsh, her mother cared very much for her. When Claudia was sick even though her mother did not seem to be caring, she spent the night making sure her daughter was fine. Claudia later recalls that when she thinks of autumn, she remembers her mother as “somebody with hands who does not want [her] to die.” (Bluest Eye, 12) In Beloved, mothers are also depicted in various ways. [...]
[...] Their struggle with understanding their racial identity shows Toni Morrison's struggle with the world around her who that tries to dictate what blackness should be. Morrison shows the issue of self-hatred in her writings. In Tar Baby, Valerian Street allows a strange black man only known as Son to stay over in his home. Unsurprisingly, his wife is extremely upset and says some very racist comments because she is convinced that he wanted to rape her. What is surprising is how the African Americans respond to him. [...]
[...] imagination to find her identity and her place in society as an African American woman. In her books, Morrison seems to be asking herself what it means to be an African American. She also explores how gender and class affects one's views of what blackness is. Morrison's characters are well rounded and extremely complex. There is a lot of contrast in what Morrison writes. The main characters cannot be easily put in a category of villains and heroes. There is not a clear protagonist or antagonist. [...]
[...] Everybody in the world was in a position to give [black women] orders. White women said, this.” White children said, “Give me that.” White men said, “Come here.” Black men said, down.” The only people they need not take orders from were black children and each other. But they took all of that and re-created it in their own image. They ran the houses of white people, and knew it. When white men beat their men, they cleaned up the blood and went home to receive abuse from the victim. [...]
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