The Effects Of Black Culture On American Literature

Good Essays
Nicole Paul

Toni Morrison: Playing in the Dark

In Toni Morrison’s article Playing in the Dark, she is discussing how racism effects American literature. To Morrison, black culture is a tiny speck in American literature and she wants to expand it. Before Morrison could even think about doing this, she had to change her perspective and imagine what it is like to be in someone else’s shoes. Morrison states that, “My work requires me to think about how “free” I can be as an African-American woman writer in my genderized, sexualized, wholly racialized world.” (pg. 4) To be put in someone else’s shoes means that you need to become them in a sense. American literature holds the tradition where books are written by or about white
…show more content…
Race is such a forbidden topic that people do not talk about it so that lessens the chances of that subject being written about. Morrison states that some of these literary critics have not even read any African American literature and that has absolutely no impact on the, whatsoever. Some of them just refuse to read African American literature leaving them unaware on what it has to offer. Toni Morrison would like to bring Africanism to American literature. She states “My early assumptions as a reader were that black people signified little or nothing in the imagination of white American writers.” (pg. 15) It was then Morrison states that she stopped reading as a reader and began reading as a writer. (pg. 15) It seemed as though American literature was being shaped by racial ideology, but in some way authors were representing themselves in the African American characters they put in their writing. Morrison wants to make a change in American literature being her reason for writing this essay.

In Playing in the Dark, Toni Morrison’s argument is for extending literary studies into new books. Morrison wants new fields to open up and that is what she is planning on doing. Morrison simply states at the beginning of the essay, “These chapters put forth an argument for extending the study of American literature into what I hope will be a wider landscape.” (pg. 3) This to Morrison is her goal. It is what she is setting out to do
Get Access