African American Literature Toni Morrisons Essay Black Matters

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African American Literature Toni Morrisons Essay Black Matters

In Black Matters, Toni Morrison discusses "knowledge" and how it seems to take on a Eurocentric standpoint. The "knowledge" she discusses is the traditional literature that is "unshaped by the four-hundred-year-old presence of the first Africans and then African-Americans in the United States" (Morrison 310). Morrison also addresses the treatment of African Americans in current society dealing with "racial discourse" (311), in addition, to ignoring matters of race. Morrison strongly argues that the traditional canon, taught and respected by much of society, ignores black's contribution to society. She is also concerned with the lack of true African representation within the
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This statement is depicted in Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily," through "the Negro servant" named Tobe. Although he is a character in the story, the reference to him is as "a doddering Negro man to wait on her… He talked to no one, probably not even to her, for his voice had grown harsh and rusty, as if from disuse" (Faulkner 76). I feel through literature, society and "white" writers show the African-American experience or (black life) as valueless.
Morrison also argues that society ignores issues of race by disguising the actual subject. She demonstrates this idea using a famous book within the canon, "Huckleberry Finn". She says that, "the critique of class and race is there, although disguised or enhanced through a combination of humor, adventure, and the naïve… the novel masks itself in the comic, the parody and exaggeration of the tall tale" (Morrison 320). Despite the serious subject matter within the book "it simulates and describes the parasitical nature of white freedom" (321). Morrison also claims that society reduces the importance of the African-American experience by perpetuating negative stereotypes. She states that the ending of "Huckleberry Finn" has been labeled as a "brilliant finesse that returns Tom Sawyer to the center stage where he should be" (321). By replacing the black slave, Jim, with the white character of Tom at the end of the book, racial stereotypes are confirmed. This book…