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Definitions of Self in Community in Morrison's Sula and Song of Solomon

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Definitions of Self In Community in Sula and Song of Solomon 

 
    "In that place, where they tore the nightshade and blackberry patches from their roots to make room for the Medallion City Golf Course, there once was a neighborhood" (Sula 1). Toni Morrison begins the novel Sula with these powerful words, describing more than a physical place, but a spiritual place where a community once stood. She begins with the destruction of the community, ultimately beginning at the end because her novel traces the history of this community. In Song of Solomon. Morrison takes the opposite path. She traces the history of self that ultimately ends in a type of destruction when Milkman leaps off the cliff. In both novels, however, she explores the tension between self and community and the sacrifices each demand from the other. Morrison's characters are both empowered and restricted by the heavy sense of community that operates in her novels. In all of her novels the characters are pulled along by and enmeshed in the communities in which they live. In Sula and Song of Solomon the struggles of me community and me characters with in the framework of community are me driving force behind much of me novel. Both the characters and the larger communities are irrevocably changed throughout me course of the novels the as tension to define both individual and community surfaces.

From the opening lines of Sula which foreshadows me ultimate deem of me community, Morrison calls attention to me sense of community in the Bottom. In "Eruptions of Funk. Susan Willis says, "The opening line from Sula might as well have been me novel's conclusion, so complete is the destructioni it describes. This is the community Morrison is writing to reclaim" (315)...


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Pessoni, Michele. “‘She was laughing at their God.’: Discovering the Goddess Within Sula.” African American Review 29 (1995): 439-451.

Rigney, Barbara Hill. The Voices of Toni Morrison. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1991.

Rubenstein, Roberta. “Pariahs and Community.” Toni Morrison: Critical Perspectives Past and Present. Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and K. A. Appiah. New York: Amistad Press, Inc., 1993. 126-1 58.

Smith, Valerie. “Song of Solomon: Continuities of Community.” Toni Morrison: Critical Perspectives Past and Present. Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and K. A. Appiah. New York: Amistad Press, Inc., 1993. 274-283.

Willis, Susan. “Eruptions of Funk: Historicizing Toni Morrison.” Toni Morrison : Critical Perspectives Past and Present. Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and K.A. Appiah. New York: Amistad Press, Inc., 1993. 308-329.

 

 


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