Tag Archives: Morrison

Sala by Toni Morrison (review by Andrew R. ’17)

SulaSula by Toni Morrison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I chose Sula as my first introduction to Toni Morrison’s work because it was slimmer, lighter, and—apparently—easier to understand than her more famous and acclaimed novels, but now that I’ve finished the last chapter I find myself wondering if this book is really representative of Morrison’s greater oeuvre. The plot sounds deceptively peaceful: young black Sula leaves her small hometown behind as she heads off to be educated, and upon her return ten years later (a significant gap in the novel’s chronology), she’s estranged and distrusted by her former friends. You can’t call Sula “peaceful,” though, because Morrison fills its pages with wanton, almost casual violence and death. A mother soaks her son’s mattress in gasoline and sets it alight; a woman burns to death trying to light a yard fire; a little boy slips from his friends’ fingers and falls into the lake, never resurfaces. Hard as I try, I can’t reconcile these near-constant, near-faceless deaths with the practices of “good novel-writing” that I’m used to, and so for the moment Sula seems more off-putting and grim than I’d wish. Maybe someday, when I’m more familiar with the rest of Morrison’s novels, I’ll be able to return to Sula and appreciate, or at least understand, its pervading sense of randomness and cruelty.

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Beloved by Toni Morrison (review by Elisabeth S. ’16)

Beloved (Toni Morrison Trilogy #1)Beloved by Toni Morrison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A warning: Beloved is not for the light of heart. Sethe is an escaped slave and mother of three that heads for Ohio with her broken family, having lost her husband in flight. The trauma that she has endured as a slave and during her escape haunts her, so she does her best to repress those troubling memories. With the appearance of a figure from her past, however, she slowly begins to question the choices she once made with the interests of her children in mind. This novel is based off of real events and will sicken, disgust, and cause you great despair and shame for the United States and slavery. However, this novel also involves supernatural elements, with the presence of a main supporting character who is a manifest form of Sethe’s dead daughter. Overall, Beloved is recommended to anyone even a little bit interested in slavery for a new perspective, sorely needed as the years progress and the Civil War era seeps into the past. – Elisabeth S. ‘16

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