Jazz by Toni Morrison - Essay Example

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[Author’s Name] Toni Morrison "Jazz" Thesis Statement Memory is the most significant theme in Jazz through which Morrison makes the argument that the African-American community as a whole has experienced a kind of orphanhood and memory is mostly developed through the presence of several orphans in the novel…
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Jazz by Toni Morrison
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Download file to see previous pages Morrison is also called a historian because she writes about the African-American life long experience happened with them in American history temporally and spatially. She also depicts African-American female characters as heroes in most of her novels. Even, it is commented that she has proved herself a hero for all Americans because of her marvelous writings. Morrison experienced many tragedies in 1993. Her mother died and her home in Grand View-on-Hudson, New York, was destroyed by a fire. She also experienced a great honor when she received the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature in that same year. She was the eighth woman and the first black woman to receive this ("Morrison, Toni" 2) "Morrison's enduring popularity, somewhat rare for a novelist of such high literary stature, became evident in 1996, when Song of Solomon resurfaced on bestseller lists after a push from one of Morrison's more powerful fans, the talk-show host and one-woman media empire Oprah Winfrey, who also starred in the 1998 film version of Beloved" ("Morrison, Toni" 2). After graduating from college, Morrison went on to teach English. She eventually married and started a family. She continued teaching while taking care of her family. All of her novels are woven with many themes. She communicates the sense of loss that African-Americans experienced after the end of slavery. Often Morrison's characters struggle and fail to find their true selves. They seem disconnected from their community and past. Ancestry is also evidently important to Morrison and she believes that it is characteristic of black writing. Morrison is constantly placing her characters in extreme situations that we think human beings cannot bear. These extreme conditions show their true nature. She weaves several other messages throughout her novels. She believes that to be free, one must take risks. Morrison does not advocate irresponsibility. She believes in being responsible for one's choices. She also believes that innocence has to be lost in order for the person to grow. The Setting of Jazz The setting of Jazz is in Harlem during the 1920s. This was a place of promise of a better life for Black Americans, which turns to disappointment for most when they get there. The city was full of excitement, chaos and energy. There were Jazz Clubs everywhere and music all the time ("Editorial Reviews" 1). The story begins with Dorcas' funeral. Violet has just tried to slash the dead girl's face with a knife. Her husband Joe had been having an affair with Dorcas and shot her after she rejected him. The overall atmosphere is bittersweet. The story is not written in a chronological order. It goes from the present, back to the past when Dorcas was still alive and back to the present again. It is written in different points of view that when put together tells a bigger story. The story is written in third person and the narrator has omniscient knowledge. (Treherne, 208) The narrator tells not only what is in the character's mind, but also what is going on outside of them. The narrator at times seems to not have any more control over the story than the reader. The major themes in the novel are youth versus age, music and memory. Youth versus age is one of the central themes. The main relationship in the novel is between "Joe Trace, a fifty year old man, and Dorcas, who is in her late teens" ("Jazz Major Themes" 1). Dorcas becomes a symbol of youth throughout the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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