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Song of Solomon - Celebrating the human spirit

Uploaded by Quest4Glory on Jun 17, 2005

When Toni Morrison received the Nobel Prize for literature a decade ago, she told yet another story. About an old lady. Wise but blind. The old lady could belong to any land, any culture. She is both the ‘law’ and the ‘transgression’ of that land. Her clairvoyance is unmatched. One day a bunch of cynical youngsters decide to expose her. They visit her and ask her whether the bird they hold in their hand is dead or alive. There is a long pause and the youngsters start feeling triumphant. Just as the sniggers begin, the old woman responds softly and sternly. ‘I don’t know’, she says. ‘But it is in your hands.’ The old woman’s wisdom wins once again. In a deft stroke she has felled the arrogance of the doubters. She has shifted the attention from the assertion of power to the instrument through which the power is asserted. The author went on to liken herself to the old woman and the bird to her writing, in her speech.

Ever since she wrote her first novel, Morrison has left seven brilliant novels in our hands. For us to cherish the beauty of the human spirit that remains unvanquished by the greatest of horrors unleashed on it. Morrison writes about the most savage and barbaric acts committed by human beings in the most luminous prose possible. The paradox in her writing makes her truly the wisest woman in the literary horizon. To say she writes about the black experience in a racist culture would be doing her a great disservice. Her characters may be localized to a particular race but the truths she speaks are universal. They may very well be about the Dalits in India or the Muslims in Bosnia.

Toni Morrison was born Chole Anthony Wofford in Lorain, Ohio. Her parents moved to the north to escape the problems of southern racism and she grew up relatively unscarred by racial prejudices. She spent her childhood in Midwest and read voraciously from Jane Austen to Tolstoy. Her father told her folktales about the black community, transferring his African American heritage to another generation. In 1949 she entered Howard University in Washington D.C. America’s most distinguished black college. She continued her studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. She wrote her thesis on Suicide in the works of William Faulkner and Virginia Woolf.

A suicide sets the context for Morrison’s...

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Uploaded by:   Quest4Glory

Date:   06/17/2005

Category:   Literature

Length:   6 pages (1,437 words)

Views:   3089

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