Type: Critical Essays
Sample donated: Belinda Wilkins
Last updated: September 18, 2019
SCRIPTBOTH: Toni Morrison a video documentary by Noah Roberts and Eeshika DadheechEESHIKA: Toni Morrison is the most influential African American female author because of her large impact on African American and women’s rights. EESHIKA: Toni Morrison (born Chloe Wofford) was Born on February 18, 1931, in Lorain, Ohio.NOAH: Her dad George Wofford moved to the racially integrated town of Lorain, Ohio, in hopes of escaping racism and securing employment in Ohio’s industrial economy. Her father grew up in Georgia. When he was about 15, two black businessmen who lived on his street his street were lynched.EESHIKA: In 1949 she enrolled at Howard University, saying she wanted to be around african american intellectuals. The school is in Washington, D.C.
, where she encountered racially segregated restaurants and buses for the first time.NOAH: She received her Master of Arts from Cornell University in 1955.EESHIKA: She wrote many books such as The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, and Beloved.NOAH:Morrison has earned a plethora of accolades and honorary degrees, such as EESHIKA: The Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.And she was the first black woman to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature 1993, because she gave life to an essential aspect of american reality. NOAH: She won Pulitzer prize for fiction, in 1988 for the book Beloved, because of her use of realism and allegory, to portray the violence of slavery.
As well as many other notable awards EESHIKA: Toni Morrison also had a large impact on the women’s rights movement. EESHIKA:She inspired others to join the civil rights movement through her writingsFor example in her article for the NY Times, “What the black women thinks about the women’s liberation” She shared and voiced opinions of African American women during this time. Additionally in her book Beloved she portrays the lives of slaves during the time period after the civil war and sparked the debate that helped gain rights for African americans as well as women. Through the book The Bluest Eye Morrison explains the roles of women and gender norms during this time. NOAH:Impact on style of writing She explores the life of African Americans with cold-blooded detail and vivid vocabulary.
Her intricate writing style does not just tell the reader about issues concerning African-Americans, instead she shows them. For example In Beloved, set in Ohio at a plantation in Kentucky, Morrison shows slavery through flashbacks and stories told by characters. Her word choices give the reader the sense on how slave masters viewed their slaves so poorly EESHIKA:Toni Morrison also had a large impact on other American authorsOne of these young american authors includes Colson Whitehead Colson Whitehead wrote the Pulitzer Prize received novel The Underground Railroad which is about a young female slave running away from a cruel plantation in Georgia. As she struggles to escape to freedom.Whitehead has clearly stated in several interviews that Morison’s work in Beloved and The Bluest Eye were his key inspiration for writing the novel. EESHIKA:This passage from Toni Morrison’s Bluest Eye: “The birdlike gestures are worn away to a mere picking and plucking her way between the tire rims and the sunflowers, between Coke bottles and milkweed, among all the waste and beauty of the world—which is what she herself was.
All of our waste which we dumped on her and which she absorbed. And all of our beauty, which was hers first and which she gave to us.”Author’s writing style and any techniques usedIdentify and explain literary element # 1: _____Personification________Personification is when a non human thing is given human characteristicsMorrison uses personification to further enhance the meaning of the passageAs she describes the style of movement of the white girls which she goes to school of being birdlike This is to express how the main character in the story Pecola perceives the other white girls in the novel of being beautiful and how all this beauty that they had was unfair because she didn’t get any, and did not considered herself to be beautiful. Identify and explain literary element # 2: ______Symbolism________Symbolism is the practice of representing a person, place, thing, or event by means of symbols, meaning, or significance to objects, events, characters, relationships or beyond.Symbolism can be viewed in this passage such that: Here, morrison transforms Pecola into a symbol of the hopes and fears of her community during this time .As well as on a larger scale she symbolizes the beauty and suffering that faces all human due to the perception that many african americans had during this time.Literal meaning (surface value) This quote at the end of the book “the bluest eyes” which is the tragic story of Pecola Breedlove, a poverty stricken black child. Pocola longs for the blue eyes and blond hair that are valued by the society in which she lives.
Philosophical meaning (in-depth, critical thinking!) The underlying meaning of the quote is that during this time in society, The Bluest Eye is a critique not only of the standards of female beauty approved by the prevailing white culture, however, acceptance of those standards by blacks themselves. This passage can still be related such that in today’s society many young women of all races still feel that it is important to live up to a certain standard of beauty to be considered acceptable in society. NOAH: In the book beloved, Morrison writes”White people believed that whatever the manners, under every dark skin was a jungle. Swift unnavigable waters, swinging screaming baboons, sleeping snakes, red gums ready for their sweet white blood. In a way . . . they were right.
. . . But it wasn’t the jungle blacks brought with them to this place. .
. . It was the jungle whitefolks planted in them.
And it grew. It spread . . .
until it invaded the whites who had made it. . . . Made them bloody, silly, worse than even they wanted to be, so scared were they of the jungle they had made. The screaming baboon lived under their own white skin; the red gums were their own.
“The Literal meaning of the quote isWhite people were afraid of African Americans and treated them differently because many things about them were unknown to white people. This is described by Stamp Paid who is a character in the book that helps slaves escape to freedom. The Philosophical meaning of the book isStamp Paid, considers the ways in which slavery corrupts and dehumanizes everyone who comes in contact with it, including the white slave owners. It makes them fearful, cruel, and irrational. He perceives anxiety on the part of the whites about the unknown, “unnavigable” piece of mind that the slaves steal. The conclusion of this passage asserts that what the whites recognize and run from is in fact their own savagery, And they project this savagery onto those who they perceive to be their oppositesExamples of the literary devices she uses are Imagery- Morrison uses words like, “Swift unnavigable waters, swinging screaming baboons, sleeping snakes, red gums ready for their sweet white blood.
” To plant vivid scenes in the reader’s mind that gives them a visual of what she is trying to convey.She also uses Symbolism- The jungle that Morrison says white slave owners believe to be under all dark skinned people symbolizes the false perception of evilness that white people give to black people. When in reality they are just scared of the unknown, so they associate black people with evil characteristics.personification- Personification is when a non human thing is given human characteristics, such as the jungle that Morrison says white people believe is under black people’s skin.
This imaginary jungle is a non human thing however it is used to describe Toni Morrison’s perception of how white people view black people. She does this to make a point that white people falsely perceive and label black people, which gives the reader a better understanding of the novel.