"A Mercy" Essay

Topics: Toni Morrison, Truth, The Reader Pages: 3 (881 words) Published: December 11, 2012
Cris Damianos
English 12
Ms. Hicks
September 3, 2012

Aesop, a renowned Greek fabulist and story teller once said that “every truth has two sides; it is as well to look at both, before we commit ourselves to either” Here he is trying to say that before we judge or lean towards one side of a story, we should always be aware of the other. I believe Toni Morrison is trying to prove this point in her novel a mercy by depicting her story from the perspectives of various characters in the book. In doing this, the reader quickly learns to look at all sides of a story before jumping to false conclusions. In her novel, a mercy, Toni Morrison takes the reader into the minds of the characters Lina and Sorrow in order to demonstrate the importance of looking at all sides of a story before we commit ourselves to either one.

Morrison first manifests her point of evaluating all sides of a story when she displays the indifference's between Lina, a responsible and trusted slave, and Sorrow, a mysterious slave found washed up on the side of a river. Morrison begins her manipulation of perspective by creating Lina as a character the reader could trust. She is intelligent, hardworking and respected by the Mistress; Morrison leaves no reason not to follow Lina’s opinions. Therefore, although Sorrow had been brought up various instances in the novel, when Morrison plants negative views toward Sorrow through the mind of Lina, the reader too begins to grow an abhorrence towards her. Lina’s hatred towards Sorrow is blatantly demonstrated through her first description of her, where she portrays her with “Red hair, black teeth, recurring neck boils and a look in those over lashed silver-gray eyes that raised Lina’s nape hair”(p 59) Morrison then ignites the readers flame towards Sorrow when she describes the story of her past through Lina’s perspective, where Sorrow is depicted as a lying, good for nothing, strange girl who has no memory of her past life besides being dragged...
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