Essay about A Mercy Notes

4980 WordsDec 4, 201420 Pages
Some notes for Toni Morrison's novel A Mercy (2008) Part 1: Page and chapter numbers by day for the current edition we are using: Date Chapters Old numbers New Numbers Day 30, Weds. 11/14/12 1-4 1-66 3-78 Day 31, Fri., 11/16/12 5-8 67-134 79-158 Day 32, Mon 11/19/12 9-12 135-167 159-196 Part 2: Chronology of Events Before the story begins, the Blacksmith’s male line has passed down from father to son the art of smelting ore into iron in Africa in termite mines. The Blacksmith may have been captured in pirate raids upon slave ships, and sold in the Americas as an indentured servant. His demeanor in the novel suggests that he was probably at least adolescent when captured, as he does not seem as alienated from his…show more content…
Jacob decides to build himself a magnificent house. In the commotion of building, his one surviving and thriving child, 5-year-old Patrician is kicked in the head by a horse and dies in winter. She must be buried twice, because the ground is too hard to dig her grave at the time of her death. 1689 The Blacksmith arrives to work on the gates to the third house Jacob is building. Florens is smitten with him. While at work on the gates, the Blacksmith successfully treated the boils Sorrow seems to develop as a chronic, pesky (but not lethal) medical condition. 1690 Jacob dies of pox, his dying wish to be carried into the third house he has built. Rebekkah feels pox sores in her mouth, and by morning she is in full outbreak. Florens is sent to fetch the Blacksmith to cure Rebekkah. She travels by wagon. When her fellow-passengers desert the wagon at nightfall, Florens takes off by foot to find the Blacksmith. Lina briefly meets the runaways in the forest. Part 3: Historical Notes by Chapter Chapter 1 Signs; “when a dog’s profile plays in the steam of a kettle” Florens is “reading signs.” That is, she is interpreting something unusual in the natural world that seems to correspond with a supernatural way of knowing the world, beyond that accessible to the rational senses. The literary source of this practice is most likely twofold. Henry Louis Gates Jr., in Figures in Black: Words, Signs, and the “Racial” Self (1989) chooses as
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