Toni Morrison and Historical Memory

Powerful Essays
Most of literature written by American minority authors is pedagogic, not toward the dominant culture, but for the minority cultures of which they are members. These authors realize that the dominant culture has misrepresented minority history, and it is the minority writers' burden to undertake the challenge of setting the record straight to strengthen and heal their own cultures. Unfortunately, many minorities are ambivalent because they vacillate between assimilation (thereby losing their separateness and cultural uniqueness) and segregation from the dominant culture. To decide whether to assimilate, it is essential for minorities to understand themselves as individuals and as a race. Mainstream United States history has dealt with the past of the dominant culture forgetting about equally important minority history. We cannot convey true American history without including and understanding minority cultures in the United States, but minority history has to first be written. National amnesia of minority history cannot be tolerated. Toni Morrison is a minority writer has risen to the challenge of preventing national amnesia through educating African-Americans by remembering their past and rewriting their history. In her trilogy, Beloved, Jazz and Paradise, and in her other works, Morrison has succeeded in creating literature for African-Americans that enables them to remember their history from slavery to the present.

Toni Morrison has been called America's national author and is often compared with great dominant culture authors such as William Faulkner. Morrison's fiction is valued not only for its entertainment, but through her works, she has presented African-Americans a literature in which their own heritage and history a...

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