Morrrison's a Mercy: Critical Approaches

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Toni Morrison’s A Mercy

Toni Morrison’s A Mercy: Critical Approaches

Edited by

Shirley A. Stave and Justine Tally

Toni Morrison’s A Mercy: Critical Approaches, Edited by Shirley A. Stave and Justine Tally This book first published 2011 Cambridge Scholars Publishing 12 Back Chapman Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 2XX, UK

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

Copyright © 2011 by Shirley A. Stave and Justine Tally and contributors All rights for this book reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. ISBN (10): 1-4438-3300-2, ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-3300-4

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction ................................................................................................. 1 Shirley A. Stave and Justine Tally Part I: Racially Constructed Space in A Mercy Chapter I ...................................................................................................... 9 Eco-Critical Focal Points: Narrative Structure and Environmentalist Perspectives in Morrison’s A Mercy James Braxton Peterson Chapter II................................................................................................... 23 The Politics of “Home” in A Mercy Anissa Wardi Part II: Intertextual Resonances in A Mercy Chapter III ................................................................................................. 45 Miltonic Journeys in A Mercy Tessa Roynon Chapter IV ................................................................................................. 63 Contextualizing Toni Morrison’s Ninth Novel: What Mercy? Why Now? Justine Tally Chapter V .................................................................................................. 85 Salt Roads to Mercy Keren Omry Part III: Psychological Explorations in A Mercy Chapter VI ............................................................................................... 103 “Nobody Teaches you to Be a Woman”: Female Identity, Community and Motherhood in Toni Morrison’s A Mercy Mar Gallego

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Table of Contents

Chapter VII.............................................................................................. 119 Orphanhood in Toni Morrison’s A Mercy Susana Vega-González Chapter VIII............................................................................................. 137 “Across Distances Without Recognition”: Misrecognition in Toni Morrison’s A Mercy Shirley A. Stave Contributors............................................................................................. 151

INTRODUCTION SHIRLEY A. STAVE AND JUSTINE TALLY

Toni Morrison’s comment that she wrote A Mercy to explore a time before slavery was identified with race has been reiterated at every conference session that has treated her most recent novel. However, Morrison’s portrayal of the colonies that would eventually become the United States is nuanced and intricate, exploring not simply raced issues, but those of gender, religion, geography, among many other, and doing so in ways that engage in an interface with a host of cultural artifacts and foundational myths. Although A Mercy is one of Morrison’s shortest texts, it is also one of her richest and requires cautious and meticulous excavation to shed light on its complexity. Which is not to say one can overlook issues of race, but rather that one must consider race in an interplay with other social determiners, such as gender and social class. Moreover, we must resist the trigger reaction that interprets “race” to reference black-white relations, given that in colonial America another different people lived here who were subjected to biological mayhem as well as painstakingly plotted genocide. This collection of essays, then,...
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