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10 thoughts on “Paradise

  1. says:

    Sometimes you have to hold up your hands as a reader and admit maybe you didn’t do a book justice I found Paradise really difficult to follow Mainly this is due to there being no central character The central character instead is a town called Ruby where only blacks live and are free of white legislation and a nearby building known as the convent The awfulness of men and magical prowess of women is its theme Well not uite but the divisions drawn here are not between blacks and whites but between men and women The men drawing their inspiration from the past the women much inclined to look forward I’d be interested to know how many characters there are in this novel I would guess about a hundred and they all have significance which for me meant Morrison was asking too much of the reader No doubt a novelist lives obsessively in the novel she’s writing As a reader this isn’t the case We have the rest of our life to get on with every day If a character who has only had two lines reappears after a hundred pages it’s almost cruel to expect us to remember him or her And yet if we don’t remember them here we are punished shoved out of the narrative To fully appreciate this novel I’d guess you’d have to read it in three sittings Unfortunately I was only managing to read about twenty pages a day On top of that I wasn’t really convinced by any of the characters At the beginning a lynch party of men set out with guns and various other weapons to put an end to the reign of a few mysterious women living in the building outside the town A witch hunt in other words The men have managed to convince themselves these women are ungodly The novel then goes backwards in time to document both the history of the small town of Ruby and the various women who have ended up at the convent There’s some cleverness in the construction of this novel – I liked how it turns full circle which does create a lot of intrigue but there’s also a good deal of clumsiness For starters the characters aren’t particularly memorable with perhaps one or two exceptions A lot of them especially the men seemed interchangeable Neither is the prose as haunting and exalted as Morrison’s usual fare So though I felt I didn’t do it justice I can still say with conviction it’s no Beloved In fact it’s my least favourite of the Morrison novels I’ve read


  2. says:

    They shoot the white girl first but the rest they can take their time No need to hurry out here They are 17 miles from a town which has 90 miles between it and any other Hiding places will be plentiful in the convent but there is time and the day has just begun They are nine Over twice the number of the women they are obliged to stampede or kill and they have the paraphernalia for either reuirement rope a palm leaf cross handcuffs mace and sunglasses along with clean handsome guns Toni Morrison ParadiseIn my opinion Paradise is one of the most complex books Morrison has written and possibly the one I've had the most trouble reviewing This is my second reading of it and I feel I need at least a couple before I truly get it; I’m happy with what I gleaned from it this time around but to put it all down in words is still difficultParadise tells the story of the black town of Ruby Oklahoma founded by former slaves who find themselves rejected both by white people but also by lighter skinned black people Us free like them; was slave like them What for this difference? Ruby was created to insulate the townspeople as much as possible from Out There the outside world Out There where your children were sport your women uarry and where your very person could be annulledSince reading Zora Neale Hurston's autobiography Dust Tracks on a Road I've been curious about the founding of black townsThrough this fictionalized account I was able to think about how black towns were formed the why is easy enough to guess at but it's also clear to see that towns like these often founded with high hopes are definitely not utopian Ruby ends up becoming uite insular and patriarchal and full of strife not only due to inter generational uarreling but also because of the women in the Convent Throughout the book independent women such as the women living in the Convent are met with ridicule scorn hatred and fear The Convent is a haven a refuge for women who have experienced trauma and hardships in their lives and a place where women are enterprising and self sufficient The Convent women actually benefit the town but all that labour and kindness is taken for granted and unappreciated in the end It's practically a witch hunt where strong independent women are the scapegoats when things aren't going well So Lone thought the fangs and the tail are somewhere else Out yonder all slithery in a house full of women Not women locked safely away from men; but worse women who chose themselves for company which is to say not a convent but a covenMorrison is one of the best at illuminating different aspects of African American history with human stories This always helps me appreciate the history even and also think of the people involved not just the bare facts and figures that we are often fed when we are taught history so much so that we often feel removed from it Definitely recommended for those who enjoy challenging reads


  3. says:

    The moment I wake up before I put on my makeup I say a little prayer for you but on that in a moment Reading this after reading The Bluest Eye is probably like reading Dubliners and then following it with Finnegans Wake Well maybe not uite I wouldn't know as I haven't read either one but this one is definitely much denser than The Bluest Eye and has a cast of characters as large as the Bible It's not something you read with the TV on in the background or while having a conversation with your spouseNot unmanageable and certainly not unenjoyable there's a wedding scene that is simply mesmerizing or should I say Divine hence the song from My Best Friend's Wedding you know where Julia Roberts sits annoyed and horrified as the whole family breaks into song I would compare it to one of those jigsaw puzzles where the main image on closer inspection is composed of hundreds of smaller images Despite it being divided into sections based on characters you don't get a single character's whole story in their section Just keep on reading


  4. says:

    Why is it that so often in life the very thing you’re trying to avoid becomes you? Why do the oppressed become the oppressor? Why do the abused become the abuser? Why do those who demand openness and euality become insular and elitist? Why does the love that we strive so hard to obtain turn into a protective curse when we attempt to contain it vs allowing its empathy and compassion to extend to all? These open ended uestions are only the tip of the iceberg in Toni Morrison’s Paradise It is an incredible novel that incorporates many complex themes mind shattering symbolisms and an obvious personal investment of experience echoes of generations gone by and silent whisperings from history that we should heed and never repeatThe idea that a group from any oppressed race can run from their problems form their own society and live by their own rules contains within it the basic dangers inherent in utopian thinking So often it is not applicable or realistic according to the complexities of human nature In fact the idea that this utopia can be acuired affirms the thesis of the oppressed becoming the oppressor We can see this in modern society with the way the Israelis treat the Palestinians Or the way that America has chosen to repress and exploit the Third World and the various racialclasshomosexualreligiouspolitical groups at home Here we have victims creating new victimsand the cycle continues The real uestion is how do we break this cycle? It is only through immense courage love empathy compassion and strength that we step up and say no I forgive you for what has happened to me and to make that forgiveness concrete in my own life I will strive to not become bitter and will do my best to not consciously or unconsciously pass it on to othersThe concept of Paradise in Toni Morrison’s novel is akin to looking into an endless sea of mirrors It reflects back upon you over and over and over Its meanings can go on to infinity and those religious representations in the novel imply that Paradise can be infinity itselfFirst we have the town of Ruby It is an honest and at first noble idea of escaping exploitation Ah but here we have our first red flag These African Americans are descendants of a group that has set out from the post Reconstruction era in Louisiana and Mississippi to establish their own community void of whites or for that matter any inter racial mixing So the very idea of exclusion is there from the start This is what gets us into trouble While it is obvious that the group believed they were simply avoiding intense suffering there was a deep dark seed of hate that had been planted by the white man Now lest anyone come down on me I am not saying that this hatred has no reason for being there It would be uite impossible to be treated as chattel for centuries and not carry animosity I am only pointing out that this is one of the great tests of life and applies to any oppressed group How do you handle this situation within a history of racism experienced? How do the Jews react to the Holocaust? How do the Palestinians react to Jewish oppression?Unfortunately the citizens of Ruby handled it by attempting to keep their society untouched by “contamination” Contamination represents anything outside of their direct ancestors This incorporates skin color even as compared to other African Americans an unspoken but expected moral code a hierarchy in society that revolves around the founding families and the expectation of keeping the generations continuous through marriage within the community It revolves around purity in religion in dress in being a productive upstanding member of society and conseuently becomes patriarchal authoritarian repressive and a power struggleThis is where we can introduce the Convent to the story The book does it from the very beginning but that beginning is actually the end of the story Or is it the beginning of another beginning? Is the symbolism involved in how the women of the Convent treated the attacking men of the town only the beginning of another cycle of repression? Or to put it clearly are the women plotting revenge at the end of the story that will then turn them into the oppressors? Again they would certainly be justified However what will it accomplish? Only and violenceThe Convent is located about 17 miles outside of the town of Ruby It was originally the project of a white collar criminal but was taken over by a group of nuns who became yet another symbol of oppression The patriarchy that bleeds through the pages of Paradise is evident in the treatment of women by the Catholic Church The nuns of the Church have been programmed with this repression to such a degree that they in turn act as the patriarchs in this very convent It is an important point to understand because of the way that Connie is affected She believes that she needs this authority to survive Connie is the perfect example of the woman who has been pushed down by patriarchy and authoritarianism to the point where her thoughts are not her own She has not learned the process of discovering her own individuality but she will and doesA uick side note as I’ve mentioned it before in my writing reviews but Morrison doesn’t miss a beat with touching on what I refer to as “the benefactor syndrome” of missionary work The convent was set up to take the message of Christ to the Native Americans and “wean them away from anything that was enjoyable in their lives” It’s the idea that we have it right; you are the sinner so conform to our way of thinkingBut the Convent is to go through another evolution centralized around Connie After Mary Magna passes away Connie is all alone Mary Magna was the woman who rescued Connie from the poverty of being an orphan and she was who Connie lived for Connie never thought of the crucial process of discovery while Mary Magna was around because she never felt the need She never had to think for herself as long as she had the convent and the sisters She didn’t realize that she was a prisoner It was only the ability to “step inside” that was introduced to her by Lone that not only symbolized empathy but allowed her to realize the importance of herself as her own person Yes this seeming display of supernatural power from Lone is symbolic of the power of Connie and the rest of the women she takes under her wing to realize their own potentialThese free thinking women are precisely what a threat to the utopia of Ruby is Women are a threat to this society because they stand in the way of “progress” Female babies can not carry on the “holy” family names of the town Female midwifes and child bearers stand between the successful births of healthy baby boys To the men of the town this is everything Without the ability to continue the utopia the dream dies Any woman who is able to amass too much power is a clear threat to their authoritarianism What if she doesn’t want to bear children? What if the 8 rock women gain so much power that they refuse to marry the men of the community and instead go outside and inter marry with others?All their dreams all their fears their purpose for living the very idea of the town of Ruby the outside threats the unsubmissive women the impurity the non conformity the strangeness of the other is all wrapped up in the women who have taken residence with Connie in the Convent This is why they must be stopped This is where the idea of purity and a way of life become important than love and acceptance This is the culmination of our narrative The formerly oppressed the citizens of Ruby have made the transformation into the oppressors The woman has become the victimIt is perhaps no mistake that our story revolves around the Civil Rights era For it is in this very movement that the fight for euality in the black community became patriarchal The idea of freedom for the race did not incorporate the eually important drive for women’s rights That fight would have to come later It is symbolic and central to Morrison’s novel that the women are left out of “purifying” the town of Ruby What the men have to say and how they plan to execute their actions is no place for a woman’s involvement In this we can see the warning from Morrison that any fight for euality can become repressive in and of itselfThis idea of “Paradise” therefore involves many different elements to Morrison and our characters Freedom is one common thread Self determination is another The ability to escape is a third However what many of our characters struggle to grasp is the all consuming love that is so important for Paradise to become a reality Through the lens of love everything becomes clear One’s vision of a Higher Power yet anther “Paradise” theme is all about how love is incorporated Without love our world falls apart Love and its corollary euality is about embracing the differences we see in the other This can not be accomplished by a dogmatic adherence to principle purity or structure It is not done by taking sides It is searching for the common ground that makes us all humanIn the end the road to Paradise is narrow However it is not a narrow experience or way of thinking It is simple yet complex much like Morrison’s novel Love is never easy but in the end it is all we have Love is meaning our very existence the essence of what we describe as “God” and the only way to Paradise


  5. says:

    This is the most complex book I have read from Toni Morrison It is the story of a black community called Ruby in rural Oklahoma in the 70s and the reaction to a female commune of sorts called the Convent out on the edge of the town At issue here is skin tone the 8 rock dark black founders and their suspicions towards those with lighter skin The book starts with describing a massacre and then goes back to paint in the details of the lives of the women and the story of the town The narration is highly variable and not always easy to follow I realize how important this book is and recognize the wonderful writing but dropped a star from the lack of fluidity in the reading of the text and the confusion that this entailed The book begins rather violently with one of Toni's most powerful opening sentencesThey shoot the white girl first With the rest they can take their time No need to hurry out here p 3Morrison discusses her choice of this phrase in the afterward and it definitely leaves an impression on the reader It sets the expectation of a frenetic pace although the book does slow down until the last chapter Save Marie Each chapter is named after one of the women starting with Ruby who dies before the story starts and gave her name to the town The next chapter Mavis also starts out strongThe neighbors seemed please when the babies smothered Probably because the mint green Cadillac in which they died had annoyed them for some time p 21 Mavis' story tragic spousal abuse and poverty but she runs away to the Convent to join the handful of women living there where she first meets ConnieYou all ain't scared out here by yourselves? Don't seem like there's nothing for miles outsideConnie laughed Scary things not always outside Most scary things is inside p 39The next character we meet is Grace or GigiEither the pavement was burning or she had sapphires hidden in her shoes p 53 On her way to Ruby her erstwhile train companion wants some ice and the racist salesman wants to charge him a nickelListen you Give him the ice you weren't going to charge me for okay?Miss do I have to call the conductor?If you don't I will This is train robbery all right trains robbing peopleIt's all right said the man Just a nickelIt's the principle said GigiA five cent principle ain't no principle at all The man needs a nickel Needs it real bad p 66 Small but meaningful exchanges such as this abound in Morrison's writing always with a little moral in them here the price of a principleIn the next chapter Seneca we learn a bit about Ruby and the residents of the town the Oven the scandal around the motto engraved on the Oven a central piece of their community symbolizing their flight from Reconstruction to Oklahoma and freedom Furrow of His Brow and how it came to be interpreted re interpreted in the community What is striking is the many uses to which Morrison puts language This passage beautifully uses color as a mixed metaphorEven now the verbena scent was clear; even now the summer dresses the creamy sunlit skin excited him If he and Steward had thrown themselves off the railing they would have burst into tears So among the vivid details of the journey the sorrow the stubbornness the cunning the wealth Deek's image of the nineteen summertime ladies was unlike the photographer's His remembrance was pastel colored and eternal p 110 Seneca is abandoned by her sister and in turns abandons her deadbeat boyfriend in a prison and winds up at the ConventThe next chapter Divine gives us back story on Ruby and introduces Pallas who the girls at the Convent decide to name Divine after her mother DiDi Her story is the most tragic of all although the story of Billie Delia comes close I found her story with the horse to be very moving The chapter however starts with a sermon from Father Misner of one of the three competing churches in RubyLet me tell you about love that silly word you believe is about whether you like somebody or whether somebody likes you or whether you can put up with somebody in order to get something or someplace you want or you believe it has to do with how your body responds to another body like robins or bison or maybe you believe love is how forces or nature or luck is benign to you in particular not maiming or killing you but if so doing it for your own good Love is none of that There is nothing in nature like that Not in robins or bison or in the banging tails of your hunting dogs and not in blossoms or suckling foal Love is divine only and difficult always If you think it is easy you are a fool If you think it is natural than you are blind It is a learned application without reason or motive except that it is God p 141This sets the tone for how the religious community will respond to the Convent later in the story although Misner will be horrified by itThe next chapter goes to one of the central personalities in Ruby Patricia who is obsessed with family trees and old stories I think it was my favorite chapter perhaps because the narrative shifts were far less violent but also because the language is perfectly beautiful as she tries to glean information about the families the people of Ruby clam upThings got out of hand when she asked to see letters and marriage certificates The women narrowed their eyes before smiling and offering to refresh her coffee Invisible doors closed and the conversation turned to weather p 187 It is also in this chapter that we learn her theory about black on black racism The original founders of Ruby were a deep black color that she uses the mining term 8 rock the deepest darkest level of the mine for Trying to keep the purity of their black blood the founders tended to look down at lighter skin tones Later this has catastrophic conseuences for the Convent Remember that first line? Later in a conversation with Reverend MisnerYou're wrong and that's your field you're plowing wet Slavery is our past Nothing can change that certainly not AfricaWe live in the world Pat The whole world Separating us isolating us that's always been their weapon Isolation kills generations It has no futureYou think they don't love their children?Misner stroked his upper lip and heaved a long sigh I think they love them to death p 210The Convent is run by Consolata the subject of the next chapter In the good clean darkness of the cellar Consolata woke to the wrenching disappointment of not having died the night before p 221 She is the last of the nuns that once populated the Convent Her wine cave is well stocked and she serves as a guru and muse to the women that come live at the Convent She falls in love with one of the community founders who is married of course in their respective youth Speeding toward the unforseeable sitting next to him who was darker than the darkness they split Consolata let the feathers unfold and come unstuck from the walls of a stone cold womb Out here where wind was not a help or a threat to sunflowers nor the moon a language of time of weather of sowing or harvesting but a feature of the original world designed for the two of them p 229 Unfortunately for Consolata her lover dumps her and returns to his family The next to last chapter is about one of the other Ruby residents that has had limited contact with the Convent Lone Toni saves the last chapter Save Marie for the massacre scene announced in the opening line and its dreadful conseuences The book ends with several of the women survivors and returns to a metaphor of Piedade which was introduced earlier in the book I found the closing paragraph uite beautiful When the ocean heaves sending rhythns of water ashore Piedade looks to see what has come Another ship perhaps but different heading to port crew and passengers lost and saved atremble for they have been disconsolate for some time Now they will rest before shouldering the endless work they were created to do down here in paradise p 318As I said earlier this is definitely not one of Morrison's easier works but it is still rewarding and merits several reads to get all the layers that she was laid down here Fino's Toni Morrison ReviewsThe Bluest EyeSulaSong Of SolomonTar BabyBelovedJazzParadise


  6. says:

    I swear it's the most fulfilling when you read an author and you have ambiguous feelings towards them and their writing But being an unbiased fair desperately enthusiastic reader; you come back to give it a second try and it will be with that second book that you make your definitive judgement towards the author — either you like them or don't You respect their writing and just can't get down with it or you think their writing is crapI thought I didn't like Morrison I respected her as I could judge from the first book I read by her that she knew what she was talking about And as far as I could smell there was no propaganda about her writing in which she wrote for personal gain not to educate about Afro American life I think that claim about another African American writer and it unsettles me greatly because the writing is good and it sucks to think the intention isn't as well But with Morrison's writing I wasn't sure I was gaining much information or insight into the past I thought she hid too much of it behind a fantastic plot; magic than reality This second and last time proved to the second and best and proved it definitely won't be the last While I really did like and appreciate Beloved — the focus on family and the description of fear turned to desperate measures — I could not really get into the vignettes that depicted the slave life I didn't discount it let's just say I felt I could read about it somewhere else and get a stronger bullet through the heart feeling that depictions of slavery leave you withI got such a stronger picture of life through Paradise I have no idea if it was because there were references to things I had available knowledge on such as the civil rights era But either way I got several lessons out of this book I'll list them off so this reverie can be over1 Not all self righteous people with a cause are doing it for the right reasons2 Some African Americans felt just as privileged and pompous as whites3 Dark skinned African Americans felt hatred towards lighter skinned ones although this is misdirected anger4 Fear of integration will only cause unhappiness5 Don't judge a woman without knowing what in her past caused her to actbehave in xyz way no matter how vulgar you may find it6 Don't judge a book by a well written synopsis or by the first chapter no matter how confused you are Of that last lesson my thoughts on this novel evolved constantly The first chapter which begins in medias res not only confused me — it made me think this won't be good Even now after finishing it and loving it and getting a good grip on it's meaningpurpose I don't know how to classify it It's a feminist book a story of how women can embrace let go and rise above their horrors and achieve a spirituality that is both not understood and even so feared; it's a story of how you can live a clean life and people will conjure up the dirtiest story against you taking your life into their hands; it's a story about judgement and justification to feed a personal and destructive agenda; it's a story about one's duty as an African American towards their race; it's a story of a corrupted delusional people that only destroys itself and hurts it's descendants Most importantly it's a story about us vs them — young vs old; progressive vs traditional; open minded vs close minded; free spirit vs stuck; male vs female It's about there not being a right way to live only one's own individual way to live And that way is only destructive if you're living for the wrong reasons


  7. says:

    Paradise is one of my favourite words I believe it came first from an ancient word in Farsi that means only a park which says something about the Iranian idea of a park perhaps I think paradise is a place of welcome and peace and love and in this book I think that is what the founders of the town Ruby wanted to create at a safe distance from racism and related violence vertical and horizontalBut the folks in power are too rigid in defining and seeking to enforce their idea of paradise They create a closed society where some can live fully and well and others are harmed are rejected entirely or feel desperate enough to walk for miles down the freezing road out going nowhere but away At the furthest margin of the town some of the outcasts find shelter in each other work through trauma care for each other almost without judgement or in any case give care along with judgement and try to keep the hard verdicts to themselves and tentatively explore creative impulses The convent is full of pain but its anarchy is loving and healing happens there Yet the powerful men of Ruby cannot tolerate the outcasts even on their borders and move to destroy themHere by the way is a minister in Ruby chastising a couple at their weddingLove is divine only and difficult always If you think it is easy you are a fool If you think it is natural you are blind It is a learned application without reason or motive except that it is God You do not deserve love regardless of the suffering you have endured You do not deserve love because somebody did you wrong You do not deserve love just because you want it You can only earn – by practice and careful contemplation – the right to express it and you have to learn how to accept it if you are a good and dilligent student you may secure the right to show love Love is not a gift It is a diploma conferring certain privileges that of expressing love and that of receiving itCould any speech be carefully designed to terrorise people for and out of their feelings?In this novel I recognise I think much of the cultural critiue as well as appreciation articulated in the work of bell hooks and Audre Lorde The patriarchal and authoritarian flaws of Ruby emerge unevenly in contrast to I think what Audre Lorde calls the erotic including but not at all limited to sensory and sexual pleasures Not only the traumatised exiles are subject to the violence of prejudice and narrowness inside it but also many of those who stay Yet the town is in a state of change examining and reworking its relationship to memory to god to the world outside Maybe the future will open with some intervention from the exiles who are witches in the town’s imagination and thus absorb and refigure a potentially powerful patriarchal mythologyBillie Delia was perhaps the only one in town who was not puzzled by where the women were or concerned about how they disappeared She had another uestion When will they return? When will they reappear with blazing eyes war paint and huge hands to rip up and stomp down this prison calling itself a town? A town that had tried to ruin her grandfather succeeded in swallowing her mother and almost broken her own self A backward noplace ruled by men whose power to control was out of control and who had the nerve to say who could live and who not and where; who had seen in the lively free unarmed females the mutiny of the mares and so got rid of them She hoped with all her heart that the women were out there darkly burnished biding their time brass metaling their nails filing their incisorsBut the novel doesn’t end with this I think its answer to Ruby’s violence is that paradise is in us between us in all the ways of love which is easy and natural and a gift It’s heartening that one of the perpetrators one of twins realised he was in the wrong and found the will to change Here is work to be done


  8. says:

    Paradise was not well received upon its publication in 1997—influential critics like Michiko Kakutani James Wood and Zoë Heller disparaged it and even Oprah's audience instructed to read it for the talk show host's book club demurred prompting Oprah to call Morrison to offer the viewers encouragement One of the studio audience members protested that confused by the novel's multiple perspectives and non linear chronology she was lost on page 19; Oprah asked Morrison what the poor woman was to do; and Morrison's reply—which I have never forgotten—was Read page 20 Unsurpassable advice Profiling Morrison in 2012 Boris Kachka summarizes the case against ParadiseBoth Philip Roth’s American Pastoral and Don DeLillo’s Underworld came out in 1997 the year Paradise did Both addressed historical eras and themes as Morrison does but both spoke directly to contemporary anxieties in a way that Paradise did not Roth and DeLillo were nostalgic for an old American consensus and alarmed at its disintegration and both used voices resonant with modern paranoia and neurosis In contrast Morrison still seemed to be in cross racial dialogue with the same long dead ­Modernists on whom she’d written her thesis in the fiftiesThis is both right and wrong Morrison does reject any nostalgia for postwar consensus whether or not Roth and DeLillo express this nostalgia is another matter but in so doing she very much speaks to contemporary anxieties; the problem is simply that many readers did not like either what she said or how she said it They are entitled to their opinions about the what but once you have allowed such opinions to cloud your view of the how—for example none of the above critics show any awareness that Paradise is often supposed to be funny—then you have lost critical controlLet's get the what out of the way right now Paradise bears an epigraph from a gnostic gospel narrated by a female deity and it concludes with the theophany of a black madonna Searching for a term to describe its apparent ideology I could come up with nothing neutral than New Age It is a novel that parodying the Bible at least entertains the notion that our religious sensibilities must expand to include female divinity While this view would undoubtedly not interest Philip Roth much it along with other dissident religious approaches harking back to gnostic and pagan cults was undoubtedly reflected in much late twentieth century Anglo American culture Such views are embarrassing to the liberal intelligentsia because said intelligentsia legitimates itself by its appeal to secular knowledge and often materialist or at least spiritually orthodox intellectual methods and not without reason This religious reflex I believe and not simply snobbism or sexism accounts for the critical cringe Nick Salvato writes about with respect to Tori Amos some of whose songs see Marys of the Sea for instance could furnish a soundtrack to Paradise But I did write above that Paradise entertains its religious thesis rather than straightforwardly promoting it As Boris Kachka notes Morrison remains faithful to modernism If modernist writers from Eliot to Woolf shared one thing in common it was a commitment to putting forth their spiritual intuitions in obsessively fragmented and recursive literary forms to remind readers to take no single narrative on faith especially not narratives about faith This brings us back to Oprah's audience and their problem with Paradise the novel has no single viewpoint no clear chronology no central character and no reliable perspective The most basic facts of the narrative remain in doubt by its conclusion Even the miraculous resurrections with which it seems to end could be explained by a mixture of lucky escape and hallucination Condemning religious orthodoxy and political ethno nationalism for their shared demand of unthinking assent Morrison leaves her readers free to differ with her suggestion that they worship the goddessThey shoot the white girl first the novel famously begins Its opening chapter is really its penultimate one narrating the story's climax in July 1976 nine leading male citizens of the all black town of Ruby OK murder five women who are living in a former convent near the town This first chapter is maddeningly indirect as none of the men or women is named; over we see through the men's POV so that the perspective is unreliable from the start They are nine over twice the number of the women they are seeking the second paragraph begins; but as Ron David long ago pointed out nine is not over twice five; these little word problems occur throughout the text making it impossible to read passively The opposite of a mystery novel—though something of a mystery play— Paradise tells us who committed the murder in the first chapter and then spends the rest of the book seeking an explanation The next eight chapters each bearing a woman's name tell the story of how four women on the run assembled in the late 1960s and early 1970s in an embezzler's mansion that became a Catholic convent and Indian boarding school before falling into disuse In the stories of these women—Mavis Gigi Seneca and Pallas—Morrison enumerates the threats faced by the poor the young or the female such as poverty state violence domestic violence and sexual predation from the mundane Mavis's marital rape at the hands of her husband to the outlandish the Eyes Wide Shut scenario to which Seneca is subjected by a wealthy woman named Norma Keene Fox Animal imagery abounds in the women's stories from aforementioned predator Keene Fox to the name of Mavis's mother Birdie Goodroe as does classical and mythical allusion Pallas Seneca to signal that this novel asks to be read skeptically as a work of exaggeration as fable and myth rather than strict social realism In fact Morrison parodies realism with aplomb in the Mavis chapter throwing brand names and other dirty realist paraphernalia onto the page with witty abandon—this to trick us into thinking that Mavis is the white girl of the first sentence by writing about her in the literary idiom associated with the white lower class Realism too Morrison here tells us is a fable one whose moral we might distrust As in her oft misunderstood statement about Bill Clinton as the first black president Morrison is making the point that tropes of blackness are often simply tropes of poverty the latter fact deliberately obscured by the powers that be to divide the poor Those eight chapters also interleave the women's stories with the story of the founding of Ruby the one all black town worth the pain Summarizing this straightforwardly is no easy feat since the narrative comes piecemeal and from partial perspectives The basic story is this a group of very dark skinned black people who had lived near Louisiana since the mid eighteenth century found themselves at the end of Reconstruction dismissed or oppressed not only by whites but also by lighter skinned blacks This led them to found their own town called Haven in 1890 in Oklahoma when many all black towns were created due to the federal government's encouragement of homesteading When Haven fell into poverty and disrepair in the mid twentieth century the grandchildren of Haven's founders set out again and founded a new town called Ruby In the 1960s and '70s however Ruby is torn by the social conflicts tearing apart the rest of the country—between men and women old and young conservative and radical These conflicts center on the town's symbolic center a brick oven that bears the words the furrow of his brow The contending ideological forces in the town differ over how this message is the be completed Beware the Furrow of His Brow as the conservative town elders insist or in the preferred message of the young radicals echoing the gnosticism that Morrison evokes with her epigraph Be the Furrow of His Brow? Or even as one of the town's female citizens thinks Be the Furrow of Her Brow Eventually the town elders come to see the convent women as the source of their troubles—not a convent but a coven—and go on a witch hunt Just before they are hunted down the women consolidate themselves into a uasi religious order The old woman Consolata who was kidnapped from a Rio slum by the nuns and who has lived in the convent ever since becomes the new revised Reverend Mother for a kind of mystery cult wherein the women shave their heads and heal themselves with loud dreaming and artistic expression These scenes provoked a not entirely unpersuasive objection from Zoë Heller in the London Review of Books the narrative itself dissolves into Adrienne Rich ish poetry but just as Morrison is unsparing in her portrayal of the racism and colorism that led the men of Ruby to their extremes of intolerance so her tongue never uite leaves her cheek in her depiction of this New Age religion which makes the women too otherworldly to function Gradually they lost the days Warned by a female citizen of Ruby that they are about to be attacked the women yawned and smiled a small detail but a crucial one Morrison who once rather hair raisingly wrote that it is wildly irresponsible not to inuire about women's complicity in their own rape or abuse places supreme importance on personal autonomy and the material means of self reliance In the last glimpse we get of the convent women after they have either come back from the dead or are appearing as ghosts to their loved ones they are on the road and they are armed Come back from the dead yes however hedged by modernist techniue Paradise entertains a spiritual notion It does not entirely dismiss Christianity; Ruby's newest clergyman Rev Misner is sympathetic to the young radicals in the town and muses with elouence and authority on liberation theologySee? The execution of this one solitary black man propped up on these two intersecting lines to which he was attached in a parody of human embrace fastened to two big sticks that were so convenient so recognizable so embedded in consciousness as consciousness being both ordinary and sublime See? His woolly head alternately rising on his neck and falling toward his chest the glow of his midnight skin dimmed by dust streaked by gall fouled by spit and urine gone pewter in the hot dry wind and finally as the sun dimmed in shame as his flesh matched the odd lessening of afternoon light as though it were evening always sudden in that climate swallowing him and the other death row felons and the silhouette of this original sign merged with a false night sky See how this official murder out of hundreds marked the difference; moved the relationship between God and man from CEO and supplicant to one on one? The cross he held was abstract; the absent body was real but both combined to pull humans from backstage to the spotlight from muttering in the wings to the principal role in the story of their livesAll the same the definition and defense of female divinity comes into view as the novel's theme To the men of Ruby the women they hunt are bodacious black Eves unredeemed by Mary But Consolata tells us that Eve is Mary's mother and the novel ends very beautifully with Consolata in the arms of black madonna presumably like that worshipped in her native BrazilIn ocean hush a woman black as firewood is singing Next to her is a younger woman whose head rests on the singing woman’s lap Ruined fingers troll the tea brown hair All the colors of seashells—wheat roses pearl—fuse in the younger woman’s face Her emerald eyes adore the black face framed in cerulean blue Around them on the beach sea trash gleams Discarded bottle caps sparkle near a broken sandal A small dead radio plays the uiet surfThere is nothing to beat this solace which is what Piedade’s song is about although the words evoke memories neither one has ever had of reaching age in the company of the other; of speech shared and divided bread smoking from the fire; the unambivalent bliss of going home to be at home—the ease of coming back to love begunWhen the ocean heaves sending rhythms of water ashore Piedade looks to see what has come Another ship perhaps but different heading to port crew and passengers lost and saved atremble for they have been disconsolate for some time Now they will rest before shouldering the endless work they were created to do down here in paradiseIn other words don't divide Eve from Mary whore from madonna but adopt a holistic spiritual view capable of embracing flesh and spirit capable of leading us away from domination based on or justified by differenceDo not miss as the early critics did the ending's emphasis on endless work nor the admission that down here is all the paradise we're likely to get What is the endless work? The work of interpretation Midway through the novel Ruby's resident writer Patricia who has been assembling a genealogy discovers that the men of the town have been maintaining their racial purity through incest in a parody of white racism They think they have outfoxed the whiteman when in fact they imitate him Upon finding this out she burns her family trees—this to suggest that any attempt at purification is to be rejected as an arbitrary imposition Ruby's elderly midwife Lone takes a view of God that is in keeping with the novel's narrative modePlaying blind was to avoid the language God spoke in He did not thunder instructions or whisper messages into ears Oh no He was a liberating God A teacher who taught you how to learn to see for yourself His signs were clear abundantly so if you stopped steeping in vanity's sour juice and paid attention to His worldRead the clues try to assemble the narrative but accept in advance your defeat even as you press forward in trying to understand I accept—there is so much to say about Paradise About characters and their names His grandfather had named his twins Deacon and Steward for a reason about twins and doubles I have merely alluded to Morrison's parody of the Biblical Exodus and its American re creation by the Puritan settlers and I have not even mentioned how the novel emphasizes that both Ruby and the convent exist only because the land was cleared by the state of its prior Native American inhabitants I have not mentioned the novel's love of nature its endless invention its food the hot peppers that grow only at the convent Nor have I mentioned Paradise's flaws it really is too short and feels thinner than it should as a result with poetic prose often doing duty for narrative and characterization James Wood was not wrong in this complaint A novel of this spiritual and political ambition should be as long as The Brothers Karamazov and I am convinced that Morrison would not bore us at that length Well every narrative is flawed including that of Paradise as Paradise itself tells us Even so after twenty years we can say that its first critics judged it too hastily or too ideologically It sits on the shelf without embarrassment next to the most ambitious fictions of its time Don't take my word for it Read it and see for yourself It is often said that Morrison does not reveal who the white girl is but this is false; readers are told her identity—indirectly but decisively—on the penultimate page of the eighth chapter Her identity is crucial to the novel's theme of race as class for the convent's lone white girl is also its lone rich girl


  9. says:

    There are few authors that can make me feel as stupid as Morrison makes me feel time and time again This novel centers on a small community in rural Oklahoma founded as a safe place for black families that had faced prejudice and a former convent nearly 20 miles away that has become a refuge for broken women The stories of these women intertwine with the people of the town of Ruby As the women slowly heal their psychological wounds the town slowly experiences fractures and tension Finally the leading men of the town decide that these women who do not need men who flaunt their sexuality and possibly practice witchcraft is the cause of the town’s problems Although they manage to destroy the community of women it is not clear if they destroy the individual women Of course this violent act does nothing to heal the town In this novel Morrison explores racial hierarchies the tension between patriarchal systems and feminism and group cohesion and the fear of the outsider I found this novel very difficult to follow Stories wove in and out of one another the focal point changing without any signal I know I missed 75% of what was really going on in this book


  10. says:

    Why did I read this book before reading Beloved and Jazz when it is supposed to complete the trilogy? I'm bummed by that I couldn't help it I found the book on my shelf and decided to read it along with The Bluest Eye Then there I was reading it and thinking why was this book not titled “Beware the Furrow of His Brow” or “Furrow of His brow” or “The Oven?” I won’t spoil it you will have to read it to see why I say that and you'll probably agree with me I did hear though that Toni Morrison wanted to call it “War” but her editors disagreedview spoilerThe story A group of people settle in Oklahoma during the 1950s forming an all black town they name Ruby—after one of the founders who died on the way when she was refused medical attention because of the color of her skinWhen it became clear she needed serious medical help there was no way to provide it They drove her to Demby then further to Middleton No colored people were allowed in the wards No regular doctors would attend them She had lost control then consciousness by the time they got to the second hospital She died on the waiting room bench while the nurse tried to find a doctor to examine her When the brothers learned the nurse had been trying to reach a veterinarian and they gathered their dead sister in their arms their shoulders shook all the way home At first Ruby was a conservative town where the women wore no makeup and went to church regularly Later the town faced intergenerational issues “young people were getting harder to identify and when friends or relatives visited Ruby they did not always attend services as people used to do” Then in came a mansion turned convent that later became housing for women running away from all kinds of issues Women the town considered wild women Oh my change is hard sooo hard what do we do about it oh let’s go on a shooting spree? You get some idea about these men during their town meeting They don’t like change want things to remain the way they were decades before But if their psychotic move had not been introduced at the beginning of the book like Morrison does in her novels announce what's going to happen and then tell you later I would have been like whaatt just happened? You don’t want people in your town so you come up with a plan to kill them off and hide the bodies? Ok thenEvery single character had an issue in this book I didn't mind it Sure you all have issues I get you through your backstory and I empathize At times I really do Then I forget about you once your other friends are introduced Wait there you are again interacting with one of the other characters But you still haven’t redeemed yourself And then whoosh you’re smashed by yet another character and I’ve forgotten about you again wait remind me what was your background again? Still no redemption?This wasn’t as lyrical as The Bluest Eye but the plot between backstory was amazing I wanted from the characters though Examples of Consolata the nun who has an affair with a married man Billie Delia the girl painted as the “wild one” because as a little girl she wanted to ride a horse so badly she dropped her panties and lifted her arms for an older man to help her on and Mavis the mother who kills her twins by leaving them unattended in a hot car These characters all had jaw dropping stories and it made you want to stay with them hear their stories and see them move the plot forward through their narrations hide spoiler


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Free download ☆ E-book, or Kindle E-pub ì Toni Morrison

Four young women are brutally attacked in a convent near an all black town in America in the mid 1970s The inevitability of this attack and the attempts to avert it lie at the heart of PARADISE Spanning the birth of the Civil Rights movement Vietnam the counter culture and the politics of the late 70s deftly manipula They shoot the white girl first but the rest they can take their time No need to hurry out here They are 17 miles from a town which has 90 miles between it and any other Hiding places will be plentiful in the convent but there is time and the day has just begun They are nine Over twice the number of the women they are obliged to stampede or kill and they have the paraphernalia for either reuirement rope a palm leaf cross handcuffs mace and sunglasses along with clean handsome guns Toni Morrison ParadiseIn my opinion Paradise is one of the most complex books Morrison has written and possibly the one I've had the most trouble reviewing This is my second reading of it and I feel I need at least a couple before I truly get it; I’m happy with what I gleaned from it this time around but to put it all down in words is still difficultParadise tells the story of the black town of Ruby Oklahoma founded by former slaves who find themselves rejected both by white people but also by lighter skinned black people Us free like them; was slave like them What for this difference? Ruby was created to insulate the townspeople as much as possible from Out There the outside world Out There where your children were sport your women uarry and where your very person could be annulledSince reading Zora Neale Hurston's autobiography Dust Tracks on a Road I've been curious about the founding of black townsThrough this fictionalized account I was able to think about how black towns were formed the why is easy enough to guess at but it's also clear to see that towns like these often founded with high hopes are definitely not utopian Ruby ends up becoming uite insular and patriarchal and full of strife not only due to inter generational uarreling but also because of the women in the Convent Throughout the book independent women such as the women living in the Convent are met with ridicule scorn hatred and fear The Convent is a haven a refuge for women who have experienced trauma and hardships in their lives and a place where women are enterprising and self sufficient The Convent women actually benefit the town but all that labour and kindness is taken for granted and unappreciated in the end It's practically a witch hunt where strong independent women are the scapegoats when things aren't going well So Lone thought the fangs and the tail are somewhere else Out yonder all slithery in a house full of women Not women locked safely away from men; but worse women who chose themselves for company which is to say not a convent but a covenMorrison is one of the best at illuminating different aspects of African American history with human stories This always helps me appreciate the history even and also think of the people involved not just the bare facts and figures that we are often fed when we are taught history so much so that we often feel removed from it Definitely recommended for those who enjoy challenging reads Planetary Forces, Alchemy and Healing politics of the late 70s deftly manipula They shoot the white girl first but the rest they can take their time No need to hurry out here They are 17 miles from a town which has 90 miles between it and any other Hiding The Shepherds Bush Murders places will be Red Centre (Alpha Force, plentiful in the convent but there is time and the day has just begun They are nine Over twice the number of the women they are obliged to stampede or kill and they have the Midnight Storm (The Warriors, paraphernalia for either reuirement rope a Heiresses palm leaf cross handcuffs mace and sunglasses along with clean handsome guns Toni Morrison ParadiseIn my opinion Paradise is one of the most complex books Morrison has written and The Major Works possibly the one I've had the most trouble reviewing This is my second reading of it and I feel I need at least a couple before I truly get it; I’m happy with what I gleaned from it this time around but to A Dirty War put it all down in words is still difficultParadise tells the story of the black town of Ruby Oklahoma founded by former slaves who find themselves rejected both by white Blood Money (Alpha Force, people but also by lighter skinned black Sid James people Us free like them; was slave like them What for this difference? Ruby was created to insulate the townspeople as much as Succubus T06 Succubus Revealed possible from Out There the outside world Out There where your children were sport your women uarry and where your very Snow Dog person could be annulledSince reading Zora Neale Hurston's autobiography Dust Tracks on a Road I've been curious about the founding of black townsThrough this fictionalized account I was able to think about how black towns were formed the why is easy enough to guess at but it's also clear to see that towns like these often founded with high hopes are definitely not utopian Ruby ends up becoming uite insular and Girl Seven (London Underground, patriarchal and full of strife not only due to inter generational uarreling but also because of the women in the Convent Throughout the book independent women such as the women living in the Convent are met with ridicule scorn hatred and fear The Convent is a haven a refuge for women who have experienced trauma and hardships in their lives and a The Happiness Purpose place where women are enterprising and self sufficient The Convent women actually benefit the town but all that labour and kindness is taken for granted and unappreciated in the end It's A Candle For The Devil practically a witch hunt where strong independent women are the scapegoats when things aren't going well So Lone thought the fangs and the tail are somewhere else Out yonder all slithery in a house full of women Not women locked safely away from men; but worse women who chose themselves for company which is to say not a convent but a covenMorrison is one of the best at illuminating different aspects of African American history with human stories This always helps me appreciate the history even and also think of the Second Helpings of Roast Chicken people involved not just the bare facts and figures that we are often fed when we are taught history so much so that we often feel removed from it Definitely recommended for those who enjoy challenging reads

Review Paradise

Paradise

Ting past present and future this novel of mysterious motives reveals the interior lives of the citizens of the town with astonishing clarity The drama of its people from the four young women and their elderly protector to conservative businessmen rednecks a Civil Rights minister and veterans of three wars richly evo Why is it that so often in life the very thing you’re trying to avoid becomes you? Why do the oppressed become the oppressor? Why do the abused become the abuser? Why do those who demand openness and euality become insular and elitist? Why does the love that we strive so hard to obtain turn into a protective curse when we attempt to contain it vs allowing its empathy and compassion to extend to all? These open ended uestions are only the tip of the iceberg in Toni Morrison’s Paradise It is an incredible novel that incorporates many complex themes mind shattering symbolisms and an obvious personal investment of experience echoes of generations gone by and silent whisperings from history that we should heed and never repeatThe idea that a group from any oppressed race can run from their problems form their own society and live by their own rules contains within it the basic dangers inherent in utopian thinking So often it is not applicable or realistic according to the complexities of human nature In fact the idea that this utopia can be acuired affirms the thesis of the oppressed becoming the oppressor We can see this in modern society with the way the Israelis treat the Palestinians Or the way that America has chosen to repress and exploit the Third World and the various racialclasshomosexualreligiouspolitical groups at home Here we have victims creating new victimsand the cycle continues The real uestion is how do we break this cycle? It is only through immense courage love empathy compassion and strength that we step up and say no I forgive you for what has happened to me and to make that forgiveness concrete in my own life I will strive to not become bitter and will do my best to not consciously or unconsciously pass it on to othersThe concept of Paradise in Toni Morrison’s novel is akin to looking into an endless sea of mirrors It reflects back upon you over and over and over Its meanings can go on to infinity and those religious representations in the novel imply that Paradise can be infinity itselfFirst we have the town of Ruby It is an honest and at first noble idea of escaping exploitation Ah but here we have our first red flag These African Americans are descendants of a group that has set out from the post Reconstruction era in Louisiana and Mississippi to establish their own community void of whites or for that matter any inter racial mixing So the very idea of exclusion is there from the start This is what gets us into trouble While it is obvious that the group believed they were simply avoiding intense suffering there was a deep dark seed of hate that had been planted by the white man Now lest anyone come down on me I am not saying that this hatred has no reason for being there It would be uite impossible to be treated as chattel for centuries and not carry animosity I am only pointing out that this is one of the great tests of life and applies to any oppressed group How do you handle this situation within a history of racism experienced? How do the Jews react to the Holocaust? How do the Palestinians react to Jewish oppression?Unfortunately the citizens of Ruby handled it by attempting to keep their society untouched by “contamination” Contamination represents anything outside of their direct ancestors This incorporates skin color even as compared to other African Americans an unspoken but expected moral code a hierarchy in society that revolves around the founding families and the expectation of keeping the generations continuous through marriage within the community It revolves around purity in religion in dress in being a productive upstanding member of society and conseuently becomes patriarchal authoritarian repressive and a power struggleThis is where we can introduce the Convent to the story The book does it from the very beginning but that beginning is actually the end of the story Or is it the beginning of another beginning? Is the symbolism involved in how the women of the Convent treated the attacking men of the town only the beginning of another cycle of repression? Or to put it clearly are the women plotting revenge at the end of the story that will then turn them into the oppressors? Again they would certainly be justified However what will it accomplish? Only and violenceThe Convent is located about 17 miles outside of the town of Ruby It was originally the project of a white collar criminal but was taken over by a group of nuns who became yet another symbol of oppression The patriarchy that bleeds through the pages of Paradise is evident in the treatment of women by the Catholic Church The nuns of the Church have been programmed with this repression to such a degree that they in turn act as the patriarchs in this very convent It is an important point to understand because of the way that Connie is affected She believes that she needs this authority to survive Connie is the perfect example of the woman who has been pushed down by patriarchy and authoritarianism to the point where her thoughts are not her own She has not learned the process of discovering her own individuality but she will and doesA uick side note as I’ve mentioned it before in my writing reviews but Morrison doesn’t miss a beat with touching on what I refer to as “the benefactor syndrome” of missionary work The convent was set up to take the message of Christ to the Native Americans and “wean them away from anything that was enjoyable in their lives” It’s the idea that we have it right; you are the sinner so conform to our way of thinkingBut the Convent is to go through another evolution centralized around Connie After Mary Magna passes away Connie is all alone Mary Magna was the woman who rescued Connie from the poverty of being an orphan and she was who Connie lived for Connie never thought of the crucial process of discovery while Mary Magna was around because she never felt the need She never had to think for herself as long as she had the convent and the sisters She didn’t realize that she was a prisoner It was only the ability to “step inside” that was introduced to her by Lone that not only symbolized empathy but allowed her to realize the importance of herself as her own person Yes this seeming display of supernatural power from Lone is symbolic of the power of Connie and the rest of the women she takes under her wing to realize their own potentialThese free thinking women are precisely what a threat to the utopia of Ruby is Women are a threat to this society because they stand in the way of “progress” Female babies can not carry on the “holy” family names of the town Female midwifes and child bearers stand between the successful births of healthy baby boys To the men of the town this is everything Without the ability to continue the utopia the dream dies Any woman who is able to amass too much power is a clear threat to their authoritarianism What if she doesn’t want to bear children? What if the 8 rock women gain so much power that they refuse to marry the men of the community and instead go outside and inter marry with others?All their dreams all their fears their purpose for living the very idea of the town of Ruby the outside threats the unsubmissive women the impurity the non conformity the strangeness of the other is all wrapped up in the women who have taken residence with Connie in the Convent This is why they must be stopped This is where the idea of purity and a way of life become important than love and acceptance This is the culmination of our narrative The formerly oppressed the citizens of Ruby have made the transformation into the oppressors The woman has become the victimIt is perhaps no mistake that our story revolves around the Civil Rights era For it is in this very movement that the fight for euality in the black community became patriarchal The idea of freedom for the race did not incorporate the eually important drive for women’s rights That fight would have to come later It is symbolic and central to Morrison’s novel that the women are left out of “purifying” the town of Ruby What the men have to say and how they plan to execute their actions is no place for a woman’s involvement In this we can see the warning from Morrison that any fight for euality can become repressive in and of itselfThis idea of “Paradise” therefore involves many different elements to Morrison and our characters Freedom is one common thread Self determination is another The ability to escape is a third However what many of our characters struggle to grasp is the all consuming love that is so important for Paradise to become a reality Through the lens of love everything becomes clear One’s vision of a Higher Power yet anther “Paradise” theme is all about how love is incorporated Without love our world falls apart Love and its corollary euality is about embracing the differences we see in the other This can not be accomplished by a dogmatic adherence to principle purity or structure It is not done by taking sides It is searching for the common ground that makes us all humanIn the end the road to Paradise is narrow However it is not a narrow experience or way of thinking It is simple yet complex much like Morrison’s novel Love is never easy but in the end it is all we have Love is meaning our very existence the essence of The Domesticated Brain past The Long Valley present and future this novel of mysterious motives reveals the interior lives of the citizens of the town with astonishing clarity The drama of its Revelation (The Protectors, people from the four young women and their elderly The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More protector to conservative businessmen rednecks a Civil Rights minister and veterans of three wars richly evo Why is it that so often in life the very thing you’re trying to avoid becomes you? Why do the oppressed become the oppressor? Why do the abused become the abuser? Why do those who demand openness and euality become insular and elitist? Why does the love that we strive so hard to obtain turn into a The Circuit protective curse when we attempt to contain it vs allowing its empathy and compassion to extend to all? These open ended uestions are only the tip of the iceberg in Toni Morrison’s Paradise It is an incredible novel that incorporates many complex themes mind shattering symbolisms and an obvious An Honorable Defeat personal investment of experience echoes of generations gone by and silent whisperings from history that we should heed and never repeatThe idea that a group from any oppressed race can run from their American Boys problems form their own society and live by their own rules contains within it the basic dangers inherent in utopian thinking So often it is not applicable or realistic according to the complexities of human nature In fact the idea that this utopia can be acuired affirms the thesis of the oppressed becoming the oppressor We can see this in modern society with the way the Israelis treat the Palestinians Or the way that America has chosen to repress and exploit the Third World and the various racialclasshomosexualreligiouspolitical groups at home Here we have victims creating new victimsand the cycle continues The real uestion is how do we break this cycle? It is only through immense courage love empathy compassion and strength that we step up and say no I forgive you for what has happened to me and to make that forgiveness concrete in my own life I will strive to not become bitter and will do my best to not consciously or unconsciously Dead Aim pass it on to othersThe concept of Paradise in Toni Morrison’s novel is akin to looking into an endless sea of mirrors It reflects back upon you over and over and over Its meanings can go on to infinity and those religious representations in the novel imply that Paradise can be infinity itselfFirst we have the town of Ruby It is an honest and at first noble idea of escaping exploitation Ah but here we have our first red flag These African Americans are descendants of a group that has set out from the The Obsession of Oscar Oswald post Reconstruction era in Louisiana and Mississippi to establish their own community void of whites or for that matter any inter racial mixing So the very idea of exclusion is there from the start This is what gets us into trouble While it is obvious that the group believed they were simply avoiding intense suffering there was a deep dark seed of hate that had been Whiteout (Dark Iceland 5) planted by the white man Now lest anyone come down on me I am not saying that this hatred has no reason for being there It would be uite impossible to be treated as chattel for centuries and not carry animosity I am only The Girl Who Remained Elusive (Elusive, pointing out that this is one of the great tests of life and applies to any oppressed group How do you handle this situation within a history of racism experienced? How do the Jews react to the Holocaust? How do the Palestinians react to Jewish oppression?Unfortunately the citizens of Ruby handled it by attempting to keep their society untouched by “contamination” Contamination represents anything outside of their direct ancestors This incorporates skin color even as compared to other African Americans an unspoken but expected moral code a hierarchy in society that revolves around the founding families and the expectation of keeping the generations continuous through marriage within the community It revolves around Tell Me Who I Am purity in religion in dress in being a The Body Language Bible productive upstanding member of society and conseuently becomes The Black Room patriarchal authoritarian repressive and a The Hand of Amun power struggleThis is where we can introduce the Convent to the story The book does it from the very beginning but that beginning is actually the end of the story Or is it the beginning of another beginning? Is the symbolism involved in how the women of the Convent treated the attacking men of the town only the beginning of another cycle of repression? Or to The Congress Of Rough Riders put it clearly are the women The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values (English Edition) eBook: Sam Harris: Amazon.fr: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l. plotting revenge at the end of the story that will then turn them into the oppressors? Again they would certainly be justified However what will it accomplish? Only and violenceThe Convent is located about 17 miles outside of the town of Ruby It was originally the The Innocents project of a white collar criminal but was taken over by a group of nuns who became yet another symbol of oppression The The Bed and Breakfast Star patriarchy that bleeds through the 50 Short Science Fiction Tales pages of Paradise is evident in the treatment of women by the Catholic Church The nuns of the Church have been The Evil Seed programmed with this repression to such a degree that they in turn act as the The Bare Bum Gang and the Football Face-Off patriarchs in this very convent It is an important Jack Knife point to understand because of the way that Connie is affected She believes that she needs this authority to survive Connie is the The Italian Girl perfect example of the woman who has been The Healthy Kitchen pushed down by A visão de Elena Silves patriarchy and authoritarianism to the The Finest Type of English Womanhood point where her thoughts are not her own She has not learned the Halcyon River Diaries process of discovering her own individuality but she will and doesA uick side note as I’ve mentioned it before in my writing reviews but Morrison doesn’t miss a beat with touching on what I refer to as “the benefactor syndrome” of missionary work The convent was set up to take the message of Christ to the Native Americans and “wean them away from anything that was enjoyable in their lives” It’s the idea that we have it right; you are the sinner so conform to our way of thinkingBut the Convent is to go through another evolution centralized around Connie After Mary Magna The Charlatans We Are Rock passes away Connie is all alone Mary Magna was the woman who rescued Connie from the Circus Maximus (History Keepers, poverty of being an orphan and she was who Connie lived for Connie never thought of the crucial Little Red Riding Hood process of discovery while Mary Magna was around because she never felt the need She never had to think for herself as long as she had the convent and the sisters She didn’t realize that she was a Erotic Gay Baseball Jock prisoner It was only the ability to “step inside” that was introduced to her by Lone that not only symbolized empathy but allowed her to realize the importance of herself as her own The Bell at Sealey Head person Yes this seeming display of supernatural In The NFL power from Lone is symbolic of the The Morning Tide power of Connie and the rest of the women she takes under her wing to realize their own The Complete School Verse potentialThese free thinking women are The Seeing precisely what a threat to the utopia of Ruby is Women are a threat to this society because they stand in the way of “progress” Female babies can not carry on the “holy” family names of the town Female midwifes and child bearers stand between the successful births of healthy baby boys To the men of the town this is everything Without the ability to continue the utopia the dream dies Any woman who is able to amass too much The Mystical Crystal power is a clear threat to their authoritarianism What if she doesn’t want to bear children? What if the 8 rock women gain so much Return to Planet Drool (SharkBoy & LavaGirl Adventures, Book power that they refuse to marry the men of the community and instead go outside and inter marry with others?All their dreams all their fears their The Organ Grinders purpose for living the very idea of the town of Ruby the outside threats the unsubmissive women the impurity the non conformity the strangeness of the other is all wrapped up in the women who have taken residence with Connie in the Convent This is why they must be stopped This is where the idea of The Lights of Manchester purity and a way of life become important than love and acceptance This is the culmination of our narrative The formerly oppressed the citizens of Ruby have made the transformation into the oppressors The woman has become the victimIt is Von meinem Daddy versohlt perhaps no mistake that our story revolves around the Civil Rights era For it is in this very movement that the fight for euality in the black community became The Family At War patriarchal The idea of freedom for the race did not incorporate the eually important drive for women’s rights That fight would have to come later It is symbolic and central to Morrison’s novel that the women are left out of “purifying” the town of Ruby What the men have to say and how they The Bromeliad Trilogy plan to execute their actions is no The Secret Path place for a woman’s involvement In this we can see the warning from Morrison that any fight for euality can become repressive in and of itselfThis idea of “Paradise” therefore involves many different elements to Morrison and our characters Freedom is one common thread Self determination is another The ability to escape is a third However what many of our characters struggle to grasp is the all consuming love that is so important for Paradise to become a reality Through the lens of love everything becomes clear One’s vision of a Higher Power yet anther “Paradise” theme is all about how love is incorporated Without love our world falls apart Love and its corollary euality is about embracing the differences we see in the other This can not be accomplished by a dogmatic adherence to The Second Messiah principle Fortunes of War purity or structure It is not done by taking sides It is searching for the common ground that makes us all humanIn the end the road to Paradise is narrow However it is not a narrow experience or way of thinking It is simple yet complex much like Morrison’s novel Love is never easy but in the end it is all we have Love is meaning our very existence the essence of

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Kes clashes that have bedevilled American society between race and racelessness; patriarchy and matriarchy; religion and magic; freedom and belonging; promicuity and fidelity Magnificent in its scope PARADISE is a revelation in the intensity of its portrayal of human complexity and in the sheer force of its narrative There are few authors that can make me feel as stupid as Morrison makes me feel time and time again This novel centers on a small community in rural Oklahoma founded as a safe place for black families that had faced prejudice and a former convent nearly 20 miles away that has become a refuge for broken women The stories of these women intertwine with the people of the town of Ruby As the women slowly heal their psychological wounds the town slowly experiences fractures and tension Finally the leading men of the town decide that these women who do not need men who flaunt their sexuality and possibly practice witchcraft is the cause of the town’s problems Although they manage to destroy the community of women it is not clear if they destroy the individual women Of course this violent act does nothing to heal the town In this novel Morrison explores racial hierarchies the tension between patriarchal systems and feminism and group cohesion and the fear of the outsider I found this novel very difficult to follow Stories wove in and out of one another the focal point changing without any signal I know I missed 75% of what was really going on in this book