21 November 2007

20. Playing in the Dark by Toni Morrison

Read this powerful little book for a Multi-Cultural Education class.

In it Morrison attacks the representation and lack of representation of black Americans in American Lit. She discusses the demeaning and patronizing portrayal of blacks (think Huck Finn, especially the last third of the book), and the complete absence of effects of black Americans in the books. She asks how, since every single political decision made since the drafting of the Declaration of Independence has been about, or affected by, the presence of slaves, freed slaves, or the legacy of slavery, how can black characters, black people, black-ness not be prolific in literature. She provides some examples from Edith Wharton, Ernest Hemingway, and gives some praise to Melville.

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