Fusion and Fragmentation in Toni Morrison's Novels
A study of the fragmented world in the Nobel Prize author’s first six novels
The novels of Toni Morrison depict a disjointed culture striving to coalesce in a racialized society. No other contemporary writer conveys this “double consciousness” of African American life so faithfully. As her characters struggle to negotiate meaningful roles and identities, and as they confront the inescapable issue of division, her novels are permeated with motifs of fragmentation. This divided entity is a theme repeated throughout Morrison's fiction. Operating on many levels, this plurality-in-unity affects narrators, chronologies, individuals, couples, families, neighborhoods, races. Philip Page's critical interpretation of Morrison's first six novels—Sula, Song of Solomon, The Bluest Eye, Beloved, Jazz, and Tar Baby—places her fiction in the forefront of American culture, African American culture and contemporary thought. Her fiction has the power to expand the souls of all readers by taking them into the recesses of other souls-in-process, by requiring them to work the traumas and dilemmas those other souls endure, and by challenging them to know, accept, and keep open their own dangerous freedom.