Essay on Paradise by Toni Morrison

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Paradise by Toni Morrison

Throughout many of Toni Morrison?s novels, the plot is built around some conflict for her characters to overcome. Paradise, in particular, uses the relationships between women as a means of reaching this desired end. Paradise, a novel centered around the destruction of a convent and the women in it, supports this idea by showing how this building serves as a haven for dejected women (Smith). The bulk of the novel takes place during and after WWII and focuses on an all black town in Oklahoma. It is through the course of the novel that we see Morrison weave the bonds of women into the text as a means of healing the scars inflicted upon her characters in their respective societies. Paradise deals with
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This is the ultimate loss of identity because indirectly by Mavis denying her children and breaking the bond between mother and child, she is in a sense denying herself and her natural inclination to care for her children. When Mavis and her husband are in bed together, we see Morrison compares her to a ?Raggedy Ann doll,?(26) illustrating the fact that Mavis? identity meant nothing to her husband. Ironically, it takes this initial shed of self for Mavis to be able to escape the bondage her husband has over her. An article by the Radicalesbians supports this fact by stating that the male culture?s definition of ?woman? binds a woman to sexual and family functions (Radicalesbians). Unfortunately, Mavis? husband didn?t allocate ?family functions? as including the needs of his children coming before his own needs. Another indication of a lack of identity in this is Mavis? mother?s ability to turn Mavis in when she runs away to her home. Her mother, a traditional woman, is unable to understand the idea of a woman running away from her family even if it is to save herself. Her informing Mavis? husband of Mavis? whereabouts is the result of her unwillingness to recognize the similarities between her own lack of identity and her daughter?s, another tendency of women stated in the article.

It is through Mavis? escape and pilgrimage that we identify her shedding society?s definition of what she should

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