The Dilemma of "Double-Consciousness": Toni Morrison's Novels

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9780820315232: The Dilemma of

The critical reception that greeted Toni Morrison's two most recent novels, Beloved and Jazz, was so enthusiastic that it became a hallmark not only in Morrison's own career but quite possibly in the history of African-American literature as well. American readers and critics have strongly embraced Morrison in spite of the fact that her writings pose a stern challenge to an America suffering from moral and intellectual lethargy.
In The Dilemma of "Double-Consciousness" Denise Heinze makes a major contribution to the current dialogue on Morrison by analyzing the extent to which her novels have been influenced by history and the interactions of race, class, and gender. Although Morrison's career represents an American success story, her writings attack values long revered in American society: the cult of domesticity and true womanhood, romantic love and ideal standards of beauty, capitalism and the Protestant work ethic, the primacy of Western culture and modern technology. Morrison is a mythbasher, says Meinze, but she is also a mythmaker whose ontology finds its meaning in nature, primitivism, the past, and the supernatural.
Central to understanding Morrison's challenge to traditional values, Heinze argues, is W. E. B. Du Bois's notion of "double-consciousness" - the condition in which a person is representative of and immersed in two distinct ways of life. Heinze also draws on Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s notion of the symbiotic relationship that Morrison, as an African-American writer, shares with white writers. Morrison's position as part of the literary establishment and as part of minority culture in America grants her two perspectives, both of which inform her work. She successfully incorporates these perspectives, Heinze contends, by appropriating conventional literary forms to render artistically the story of black experience inside white culture. Morrison employs rational and controlled methods to naturalize seemingly irrational responses to life, and her "outsider within" status lends her a credibility that crosses racial, cultural, and class lines.
In chapters that address Morrison's aesthetic, her treatment of families, her social dialectic, and her use of supernatural elements, Heinze provides incisive readings of all six novels. Morrison's stories of black families and black culture, Heinze says, appeal to a wide and growing audience by inviting her readers to share in her double-consciousness, to join her in a symbolic journey whose final destination is truth and understanding.

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About the Author:

Denise Heinze is an assistant professor of English at Western Carolina University.

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Heinze, Denise
Editorial: Univ of Georgia Pr (1993)
ISBN 10: 0820315230 ISBN 13: 9780820315232
Nuevos Tapa dura Cantidad: 2
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Murray Media
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Descripción Univ of Georgia Pr, 1993. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P110820315230

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Heinze, Denise
Editorial: Univ of Georgia Pr
ISBN 10: 0820315230 ISBN 13: 9780820315232
Nuevos Tapa dura Cantidad: 1
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Descripción Univ of Georgia Pr. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. 0820315230 New Condition. Nº de ref. de la librería NEW7.2034794

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Denise Heinze
Editorial: Univ of Georgia Pr (1993)
ISBN 10: 0820315230 ISBN 13: 9780820315232
Nuevos Tapa dura Cantidad: 1
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Ergodebooks
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Descripción Univ of Georgia Pr, 1993. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX0820315230

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