The Jazz Age By Toni Morrison

1700 Words7 Pages
The 1920’s in American history seem to be very exciting. It was the height of the Harlem Renaissance, where African American literature, poetry, art and music emerged. You had all this African American talent growing and blasting into the mainstream. Historians refer to this time period as “The Jazz Age”. When jazz music was introduced to the public at clubs and dance halls it took off! People were either captivated by it, or appalled by it. Jazz was all about movement; it was driven by syncopation and improvisation, and for some it was considered “the devil’s music.” The novel Jazz by Toni Morrison allows you to wonder down the seductive streets of Harlem where it all began. The book gives a sense of both the scandal of Jazz music and the…show more content…
The beginning as exciting as it may seem, it is just a piece necessary to get you to keep wanting more. With this basic plot put into place or melody in this case a jazz soloist would improvise his music. Almost just as the author seems to improvise in Jazz, constantly reinventing, re-harmonizing, and shifting back and forth through various characters throughout the book. As the narrator of the novel sets up the basic theme, one by one, other characters are introduced, putting their own spin on what has happened, and allowing the reader to relive the experience through their perspective; thus, the variations on the theme. Its clear the novel structure borrows deeply from jazz music. When a jazz player did there solo he/she would interpret the beat differently and play ones own perception of the music. It would seduce people with its sexiness and spur women like Dorcas or make old women clutch their pearls, like Alice. This is the kind of drama where only the Jazz Era can provide the cheating spouses, the willful women, people with knives and guns and illegitimate children. The Jazz music within the novel even depicts the very environment the book takes place. Both the City and the woods of Virginia are described as having their own music and rhythm and the pace of the narrator 's storytelling ranges from upbeat and fast to slow and "bluesy."
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