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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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Resurrecting the Dead Girl

Resurrecting the Dead Girl

Modernism and the Problem of History in Beloved, Jazz, and Paradise

Chapter:
(p.33) Resurrecting the Dead Girl
Source:
Toni Morrison
Author(s):

Ann Hostetler

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781628460193.003.0003

This essay explores the trope of the dead girl as the space of “unbeing” in Morrison’s historical “trilogy”—Beloved, Jazz, and Paradise—and argues for the importance of the dead girl as an accessory to refiguring history in Morrison’s fiction. As history is encoded in the fictional narrative, the image of a dead girl or remnant woman seeks to disrupt it, pushing the reader’s imagination beyond the edge of the narrative paradigm. By exploring the dead girls in her texts, it is possible to trace the different approaches Morrison’s novels take towards embodying history, especially in her historical novels. While the characters and stories in this trilogy are only tangentially related, the narrative obsession with healing the ruptures of historical discontinuity deeply connects them. In particular, the dead girls of Beloved, Jazz, and Paradise cause readers to question the limits of Modernist and Postmodernist paradigms of the past. (149 words)

Keywords:   Morrison trilogy, Beloved, Jazz, Paradise, Modernism and Postmodernism, history

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