Toni Morrison - Biography She was born on February 18, 1931 in Ohio. She received a B.A. in English in 1953 and earned aMaster of Arts degree in English from Cornell University in1955. She is a Novel Prize (1993) and Pulizer Prize (1988)winner. She was the first African-American woman toreceived a chaired position at an Ivy League University –Princeton. In May 2011, Morrison received an Honorable Doctorof Letters Degree from Rutgers University
Writing Style She began writing fiction as part of an informal group of poets and writers at Howard University who met to discuss their work. Her writing style can be defined as: nonlinear and nonsequential. She tends to shift back andforth between present and past. Her narratives weave in spirituality, folk tradition, myth, fantasy and mystery combined withmuch historical detail and research. Morrison wants readers to participate in her novels, to be involved actively. Readers areencouraged to create the novel with her and to help construct meaning (black preacher model). Although her novels typically concentrate on black women, Morrison does not identify herwork as feminist. On the subject, she said: "its off-putting to some readers, who may feel that Iminvolved in writing some kind of feminist tract. I dont subscribe to patriarchy, and I dont think itshould be substituted with matriarchy. I think its a question of equitable access, and openingdoors to all sorts of things." Magical Realism: the use of details and thematic elements that are magical and do not occur in real life, yet are included as if part of a realistic narrative.
Works The Bluest Eye (1970) Sula (1974) Songs of Solomon (1977) Tar Baby (1981) Beloved (1987) Jazz (1992) Paradise (1999) Love (2003) A Mercy (2008) She also wrote plays, articles, and children’s literature.
Main characters – The Convent Mavis : a housewife in Maryland who ends up living at the convent after scaping from her house. Her baby twins soffocated in a parked car, and she cannot toletare her feeling guilt and she fears for her life. Seneca: An abandoned and abused girl who mantains a relationship with a criminal. Gigi (Grace): an outsider who comes to Ruby and eventually ends up living at the convent. Connie (Consolata): adopted by the nuns at the age of nine. She has a drinking problem, and with the help of ‘Piedade’ she rescues herself and becomes the guide of the convent. Pallas: She runs away with her boyfriend (school janitor, older than her) and then feels devastated because he becomes her mother’s lover.
Main Characters - Ruby The Morgan twins: Steward is the most outspoken brother married to Dovey. Deacon is the most reserved brother who looks up to his twin. He’s married to Soane. Dovey Morgan: wife of Steward and sister of Soane. She feels frustrated because her husband cannot give her children. Soane Morgan: Married to Deacon Morgan, she visits the convent frequently. Patricia Best: She is a school teacher and the informal historian of the town of Ruby. Arnette Fleetwood: she is K.D.’s girlfriend. She is fifteen and pregnant. She presumably had an abortion. K.D.: Arnette’s boyfriend, and nephew of Deek and Steward. He is Ruby’s son. Lone: she is the town’s midwife and the one who let the women from the convent know that they are going to be attacked.
Structure of the NovelThe book is divided into nine chapters, all of them named after a character:1. Ruby: Description of the town of Ruby, the Convent and Haven.2. Mavis: Runs away from home, steals her husband’s car, and arrives to the Convent.3. Grace: Gigi arrives in town, she is sexy, generates a conflict between K.D. and Arnette. Family discussion. Morgan – Fleetwood.4. Seneca: Focus on Ruby’s community. Meeting at the oven (graffitti) . Helps Sweetie. “The furrow of his brow”. Couple with sick baby.5. Divine: unpleasant wedding. Arnette claims her baby on her wedding night. Voultures.6. Patricia: 8R. Reconstruction of the town’s story.7. Consolata: affair with Deek. Becomes a guide for the women in the Convent.8. Lone: Alerts the Convent with no success. She tells the relatives. She finds the car with three victims in it.9. Save-Marie: First funeral of the town. New graffitti (“We are the furrow of HIS Brow”). New arrivals.
Postmodern characteristics Marginalised characters Recuperation Colonialism Intertextuality Historiography Open ended chapters Gender Race Religion The presence of the past Sexuality Symbolism