Sample Essay On The Best Author In The Literary Genre Of The Novel: Toni Morrison
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Literature, Eye, Family, Novel, The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison, Writing, Women
The quest to execute a search for the so-called ‘best author’ in a literary genre leaves the person with so many great choices to pick from, on the odyssey. Most everyone has a favorite writer that he or she really connects with, and the case is no different here. Toni Morrison has written a body of work recognized at the highest levels of literary criticism, and professional expertise. Yet the rank-and-file reader, with book in hand, may not think of communicating all the reasons why Ms. Morrison happens to be his or her favorite author of novels. This essay is a reasonable attempt to justify the argument that Toni Morrison is the best author in the fictional novel category among literary genres.
Having decided then, upon Toni Morrison as the best author representing the fictional novel category, the research study of this essay looks at several elements in its exploration. Since Morrison approaches her writing in particular ways, it is imperative to explore how she demonstrates the characteristics of the novel genre, which reflects an effective message or theme that resonates with the reader. Secondly, an example (or more) of Toni Morrison’s writing shall be exhibited in order to support the justification for the argument. Finally, essentially since one’s judgment concerning an opinion of what constitutes ‘the best’ writer in any given genre must hold a key element – as a basis to explain – the following is considered. While nobody can go inside the mind, or enter the soul of any writer’s intention of deeper meaning, certain features of one of Ms. Morrison’s works may be examined. Therefore, her novel The Bluest Eye (1970) serves as a model of thought patterns from which to address the issue of gender violence and how Morrison weaves a fictional tale (via a complex layering of devices) to achieve such an awareness.
Out of the many literary genres of plays, poems, short stories, and novels a message from the writer usually prescribes more contemplation. In The Bluest Eye, the protagonist is a little impoverished, neglected and abused black girl. Morrison places the least likely kind of human being Americans are used to reading about, and creates a world of personal pain, powerful emotions, and rejection. Beyond the horrific fact that Pecola, the girl character, suffers rape at the hands of her own father, Morrison uses this broad-based handle as a device to leverage what it must be like for people – anybody of any color – to experience hatred over something you cannot control, and how devastating that might be, if you have no support system such as the reliance upon family or friends bring to a situation when others have made you feel badly about yourself. Beginning one narrative scene in the first person, Morrison writes about “Nuns” passing by as “quiet” as any lustful entity, also placing the phrase about drunk people and sobriety in the same sentence and phrase, which is brilliantly insightful (“The Bluest Eye, Morrison, Random House”). One way she demonstrates connecting readers to the characteristics of the novel is by keeping the language plain.
Morrison’s technique does not involve fancy language. She keeps the writing unassuming, and the novel reads as everyday spoken language. But the reason why it seems to permeate the emotional soul of her readers, is that the theme comes out in the character’s life experiences. One interviewer in discussing these elements with Morrison, Christopher Bollen states “Her fiction has remained both unflinchingly visceral and almost biblical in proportion. Her language can be spare, but every color, description, and emotional or collective massacre has a haunting resonance” (“Culture – Toni Morrison, Interview”). She purposely uses very simple language in the novel and seeks to offer a message that, in Morrison’s own words “to enter the life of the one least likely to withstand such damaging forces because of youth, gender, and race” (“The Bluest Eye, x”). Morrison explains that the story grew out of a childhood experience she had of a friend, who apparently angry with God for not granting her prayer for blue eyes. The shock of that declaration coming from a young peer, provided Morrison the needed fodder to create The Bluest Eye in wonderment why such a young child would weigh in her worth on a beauty scale that was so obviously racially stereotyped.
Another very effective way Morrison uses the message or theme of a sense of loss or corrupted identity, is placing Pecola’s primer in the story. Every young child in his or her early learning experience at school normally receives a primer book, compiled of simple sentences that somehow paint a picture of idealized life. Morrison uses Pecola’s primer to draw a contrast between the painful realities she knows against the idealized lies she reads in her school book. Academic Brooklyn scholars comment on this effect, noting “excerpts from the children’s primer progress into unreadability or chaosThe primer presents an idealized picture of childhood, family life, and home” (“Toni Morrison, Bluest Eye, and Academic Brooklyn”). In The Bluest Eye Morrison writes, “Here is the house. It is green and white. It has a red door. It is very pretty. Here is the family. Mother, Father, Dick and Jane live in the green-and-white house” (3). Gradually, these stanzas are repeated throughout the novel first erasing period-mark punctuations, and eventually smashing all the letters together without any distinction of words or sentences. This application as a device truly grabs the reader’s emotional and intellectual attention without a lot of mundane descriptions, or explanations. You begin to feel the sadness of experiencing a devaluation of self.
One fabulous quality about Toni Morrison’s work is that although most of it holds a setting about black people’s lives up close, a universal quality captures a reflection of all human sensibilities. In the case of The Bluest Eye, several observations come to mind. First of all, Morrison had the courage to write something honestly and perhaps sadder than most readers would initially choose to read. But the story had something important to say, especially about the plight of little powerless, female children who had experienced unspeakable violence within their own households or communities. In addressing how issues of gender violence speaks from the novel, scholar Tahir responds to how The Bluest Eye delivers this theme from its pages. In a journal article Tahir states “It is clear that genders determine the position of people all over the world. This truth charges genders, especially women. If they are not only females but also colored, it becomes much more difficult to live in any community” (1). Rather than blathering on and on about ‘gender-violence’ per se, Morrison pulls the reader into the soul of little Pecola and manages to help us see and feel the world as she does. Her skill is magnificently unsurpassed, as a fictional novelist and the deep sense of true-to-life social depictions fly in the face of any lesser works more akin to stacks of trite novels.
In reference to the most disturbing scene when the child Pecola is raped, by Cholly her own father who came home drunk. Although the scene is not sexually graphic, Morrison writes that “Cholly saw her dimly and could not tell what he saw or what he felt. Then he became aware that he was uncomfortable; next he felt the discomfort dissolve into pleasure. The sequence of his emotions was revulsion, guilt, pity, then love” (161). The helplessness of victims of gender violence, such as battered women and especially female children is a dangerously disturbing subject matter yet Morrison deems that the issue of an abusive man is important enough to include in the message of the novel. Tahir further observes from The Bluest Eye, that “Black women have been stigmatized and oppressed sexually during slavery time, as well as in their own consecutive communities,” and of course, “at slavery time black women lived in a sexual oppressive culture,” wherein “rape has been fundamental tool of sexual violence” directed against them (3). One of the aspects that makes a writer the best in his or her genre is the courage it takes to write honestly, in beautifully created prose that causes people to think.
In conclusion, Toni Morrison speaks best about her intentions and explorations as a writer. She questioned why some of her college professors did not feel that the things she wanted to write about were important. Elderly now, and having departed from her post as a professor at Princeton University, Morrison recently said in an interview “I went to Howard University. I remember asking if I could write a paper on black people in Shakespeare. [laughs] The teacher was so annoyed! He said, ‘What?!’ He thought it was a low-class subject. He said, ‘No, no, we’re not doing that. That’s too minor – it’s nothing.’” What makes Morrison among the best novelists is that she is unafraid to take chances, and keep stretching the possibilities of creativity. She collaborated on a play recently on Othello. In the middle of writing her recent novel, Home, Morrison’s son died and she put down her pen for a while not knowing if she would be able (or willing) to continue the book. However she finished the novel, explaining to the interviewer Christopher Bollen that it was written from a man’s point of view. Ironically, while it is true that Morrison is one of the most celebrated published authors, she declares that being ‘published’ does not drive her to write. In learning the news that she had won the Nobel Prize, Morrison says a friend of her phoned saying it was announced over a television news broadcast.
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