Morrison's Jazz: Characters' Actions



The novel Jazz by Toni Morrison is an extremely well written
account of black life during the mid 1850's to the late 1920's. Morrison
manipulates the three main character's personas while analyzing their
lives to show the effect that a person's history has on their present day
life. The most interesting thing I found concerning this novel has the
way in which Toni Morrison was able to present you with a first impression
of the characters, then proceed through history, to give you a new
conception of their character. This is seen through three important
individuals: Violet, Joe, and Dorcas. At the beginning, Violet is depicted
as crazy and foolish, but through the interpretation of her ...

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the history
that is recounted in this novel is more gossip than fact, it presents a
more accurate story than the one depicted in the “offical story” located at
the beginning of the novel. Toni Morrison attempts, through these three
characters to illustrate how the narrator's perception of each character's
history can alter the reader's understanding of a character's actions.
Through this technique, she is able to demonstrate that circumstances and
events are not always as simple or truthful as they seem.
The first impression of Violet is presented through the
"official story" established at the beginning of the novel. Her character
is seen as the crazy, jealous wife who went to the funeral of her
husband's girlfriend to cut the girl's "dead face" (1). She is depicted as
crazy because she has conversations with Joe's dead girlfriend, Dorcas, in
her head and obsesses over the girl's features (Morrison 15). The narrator,
Morrison, clearly describes Violet, and in doing so ...

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she wake
struggling against the pull of a narrow well. Or watch first light with the
sadness left over from finding Rose Dear in the morning twisted into water
much too small" (104). After this meeting she abandons her family and
"worked at anything to be with Joe whenever she could" (105). Eventually
they are married, moved to the city, and Joe fell out of love, at least
that was how Violet felt. She was always trying to please Joe in the ways
he tried to please Dorcas. It is not until the very end of the story that
their relationship is rekindled and they fall back in love with each other.
After Violet's history is revealed, the reader sympathizes with her and is
more apt to feel ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 8/26/2004 03:20:16 PM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1760
Pages: 7

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