"Jazz" final Toni Morrison

"Jazz" final Toni Morrison - Deana Croog English...

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Deana Croog English 200 Rachel Mordecai Violet and Joe: Fated to Fail? Toni Morrison’s Jazz explores various themes of abandonment, desire, and rebirth. Virtually all of the characters in the novel come from broken homes, many are orphans. The lack of love and stability in the characters’ upbringings catalyzes much of the characters’ qualms and impetuous passions throughout the novel. Joe and Violet’s relationship reflects the toxic effect of the past on the present. Specifically, Joe’s and Violet’s self-entrapment in the past and inability to move forward is what causes their relationship’s beginning, and its downfall, since each partner clings to the other in attempts to fill the voids of their childhood. It is not until Joe and Violet conquer their duplicitous desires, accepting the past, and thus, move forward into a relationship of love and contentment. Joe’s and Violet’s relationship is the driving force behind the novel, mirroring the progress that the other characters are making (or not making) in accepting the past as a part of self (not as a source of instability) and in relinquishing impulsive desires as a means to fill emotional voids. Ulltimately, Morrison’s successful characters learn to appreciate life. Violet and Joe ultimately succeed in finding what is missing, or rather, accepting that which will always be missing; “something else you have to figure in before you can figure it out”- life and love, as Morrison intends (Morrison, 228). The beginning of Joe and Violet’s relationship is epitomized in the phrase, “the children of suicides are hard to please and quick to believe no one loves them because they are not really here” (Morrison, 4). Joe falls into Violet’s lap on a summer night; a sign of fate that Violet seizes, so as to latch onto Joe, and in so doing, Violet will never
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again feel the pangs of her childhood abandonment. From then on, having chosen Joe as her partner, Violet takes care of him, nurtures him, therefore, “loving” him, as “it was there she became [a] powerfully strong young woman” (Morrison, 105). Violet needs to
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This note was uploaded on 10/13/2011 for the course ENGLISH 200 taught by Professor Rachelmordecai during the Fall '10 term at UMass (Amherst).

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"Jazz" final Toni Morrison - Deana Croog English...

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