The Role Race Plays in the Development of the Utopian Societies Featured in Toni Morrison’s Paradise

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A paradise is an imaginary place, one where there is eternal happiness and everlasting beauty, where beings work together and for one another, and where feelings of love, unity, and respect are encouraged and celebrated. This serene and safe space tends to be associated with religious connotations, such as Heaven or Eden, for it is believed to have been created by a god or higher being. There are numerous beliefs and various religions that have their own versions of paradise and they all teach different theories about where it is located and how one can reach it. In Toni Morrison’s Paradise, entitled after this harmonious and divine place, she examines a specific group’s attempts to create and sustain a man-made version of this idyllic haven and the consequences and complications that can arise from this artificial paradise. The term ‘utopia’ is connected with the concept of an earthly paradise because it is the definition of an ideal society, one that is man-made and focused on maintaining a perfect political and social system. A utopian society treats everyone equally and justly and suggests that humans can live pleasantly amongst one another in this paradisiacal state. Similarly, like the various beliefs and versions of paradise, a utopia is not confined to one specific design for there are many different ideas and beliefs about who can be included in it and how it should be constructed. In a utopia, problems such as racism and racial preference rarely exist because a community might either consist of one race or an intermixture of multiple races. In an essay entitled “Home”, which was conducted in the midst of writing Paradise, Toni Morrison acknowledges that both a utopia and a paradise are the only places where a pe... ... middle of paper ... ...(2011): 581+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 2 May 2014. Harz, Verena. "Building A Better Place: Utopianism And The Revision Of Community In Toni Morrison's Paradise." COPAS: Current Objectives Of Postgraduate American Studies 12. (2011): MLA International Bibliography. Web. 2 May 2014. Morrison, Toni. “Home.” The House That Race Built. Ed. Wahneema Lubiano. New York: Pantheon Books, 1997. Web. 2 May 2014. —. Paradise. 1997. New York: Plume, 1999. Print. Read, Andrew. “As if word magic had anything to do with the courage it took to be a man”: Black Masculinity in Toni Morrison’s Paradise.” African American Review 39.4 (2005): 527-540. Web. 1 May 2014. Romero, Channette. "Creating the Beloved Community: Religion, Race, and Nation in Toni Morrison's Paradise." African American Review 39.3 (2005): 415+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 1 May 2014.

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