Jazz Social Concerns

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Shortly before she won the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first ever awarded to an African-American woman writer, Toni Morrison released Jazz, the second novel in her trilogy of "ourstory." (See the biographical entry on Morrison for an explanation of her particular concern that history has been a political and social construct reflecting primarily the views of white males.) The trilogy is her narrative of the African-American voyage from slavery to the contemporary situation of a still-divided American society.

The first book in this trilogy, Beloved (1987; see separate entry), addressed the immediate effects of slave culture in the struggles of the heroine Sethe, her motherin-law Baby Suggs, and her eventual lover Paul D, to rebuild their lives after harrowing escapes from slave plantations, relocations to Cincinnati, just across the Ohio River from slave territory, and Sethe's desperate act—murdering her daughter to prevent her ever suffering the...

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This section contains 2,882 words
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