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Toni MorrisonMemory and Meaning$
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Adrienne Lanier Seward and Justine Tally

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781628460193

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2015

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628460193.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

“’There is the Power,’ He Thought, ‘Right There’”

“’There is the Power,’ He Thought, ‘Right There’”

Dramatizing Entropy in Tar Baby and Paradise

(p.218) “’There is the Power,’ He Thought, ‘Right There’”
Toni Morrison

Herman Beavers

University Press of Mississippi

The earliest assessments of Tar Baby occurred at a moment before critics had abandoned the propensity to read African American literary texts through the aegis of racial essentialism and black nationalism. However, Paradise’s critique of racial separatism and purity in the town of Ruby, Oklahoma, actualized through its depiction of the violence directed at the female inhabitants of the Convent, recuperates Tar Baby as a novel deeply invested in a critique of black nationalism as gendered excess. In Paradise there is an equally profound critique of hegemonic forms of masculinity, but it can only be accessed by understanding the ways that systems in a state of disequilibrium often resort to drastic methods to restore order. What both texts share is the sense that for utopian spaces to persist, they must enact figurations of heat management capable of silencing or erasing any form of difference deemed to be a threat. (149 words)

Keywords:   Tar Baby, Paradise, Entropy, Black masculinity, Black nationalism

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