Clearly, the significant silences and the stunning absences throughout Morrison's texts become profoundly political as well as stylistically crucial. Morrison describes her own work as containing "holes and spaces so the reader can come into it" (Tate 125), testament to her rejection of theories that privilege j the author over the reader. Morrison disdains such hierarchies in which the reader as participant in the text is ignored: "My writing expects, demands participatory reading, and I think that is what literature is supposed to do. It's not just about telling the story; it's about involving the reader ... we (you, the reader, and I, the author) come together to make this book, to feel this experience" (Tate 125). But Morrison also indicates in each of her novels that images of the zero, the absence, the silence that is both chosen and enforced, are ideologically and politically revelatory.
Morrison's male characters ... imagine themselves in flight and are almost all in love with airplanes. ... In the tradition of black literature since Richard Wright's Native Son, however, the privilege of flight, at least in airplanes, is mostly reserved for white boys. Black males, in Morrison, fly only metaphorically, and then only with the assistance and the inspiration of black women. According to Baker, in his aptly titled "When Lindbergh Sleeps with Bessie Smith," "flight is a function of black woman's conjure and not black male industrial initiative" (105). ...
Song of Solomon opens with the image of attempted flight, as Robert Smith, ironically an agent of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance company, promises to "take off from Mercy and fly away on my own wings" (3). Pilate (P...
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... style and in an attempt to discount linearity as a value.) It would be worse than useless, for example, to talk about "plot development" in Morrison's novels; there is plot, certainly, but its revelation culminates or evolves through a process of compilation of multiple points of view, varieties of interpretation of events (and some of these contradictory), through repetition and reiteration. As there is no "climax," in the usual sense, so also there is no resolution, no series of events that can conveniently be labeled "beginning, middle, end."
McKay, Nellie, editor, Critical Essays on Toni Morrison, G.K. Hall, 1988.
Morrison, Toni. Song of Solomon. New York: Penguin Books, 1987.
Rigney, Barbara Hill. The Voices of Toni Morrison, Ohio State University Press: Columbus, 1991.
Tate, C., ed. Black Women Writers at Work, Continuum, 1986.
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