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Jazz | Study Guide

Toni Morrison

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Jazz | Infographic

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Check out this Infographic to learn more about Toni Morrison's Jazz. Study visually with character maps, plot summaries, helpful context, and more.

jazz-toni-morrison Copyright © 2016 Course Hero, Inc. Sources: African American Review, The Baltimore Sun, The Crimson, Encyclopaedia Britannica, The Guardian, The New York Times One of the most poignant writers of the 20th century, Toni Morrison is known for her distinctive writing style and novels that explore race, identity, and belonging in the United States. As a writer, editor, and professor, she has won Pulitzer and Nobel prizes and continues to influence American literature. UNUSUALFRIENDSHIP MARRIED RELATED LOVERS Jazzby the Numbers Narrator Joe Trace VioletTrace Dorcas AliceManfred Self-noted as unreliable, with a casual tone as though the reader is a friend learning community news and gossip Violent and unstable, seeking understanding and relatability Desperate for emotional connection, struggles to shed his painful past An impetuous teen, whose death at Joe's hand haunts the living Grieving aunt, desperate to keep alive the memory of her niece, Dorcas Narrator, Chapter 1 THEMES A seething force present throughout Jazz, violence punctuates charactersactions and histories and permeates Morrisons physical descriptions and narrative structure, creating a fragmented and jarring reader experience. Raised by surrogate mother figures and makeshift families, the main characterslack of personal identity leaves them searching for understanding and belonging in the community. The legacy of slavery is central to the novel, as Morrison explores how African Americans’ Southern origins shape their lives in Harlem. Where Legacies Live and Start Anew Violence Identity Race m crazy about this City. Daylight slants like a razor cutting the buildings in half. In the top half I see looking faces... Below is shadow where any blasé thing takes place: clarinets and lovemaking, fists and the voices of sorrowful women. A city like this one makes me dream tall and feel in on things. Harlem Renaissance: An era in which African American arts, music, and culture blossomed, leaving a strong imprint on American culture. 191837 Jazz sits between Beloved and Paradise in Morrisons trilogy of novels about African American history. #2 Named for its musical but fragmented narrative style, Jazz is the story of an African American couple in 1920s Harlem struggling to reclaim their lives in the wake of an affair, manslaughter, and their traumatic origins. As Jazz's tone shifts sharply from sensual to upbeat to soulful lamentation, Morrison weaves character histories together to explore life in the Harlem Renaissance. Morrison was the first African American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. 1st African Americans migrated from the South to cities in the North and West between 1916 and 1970. ~6M TONI MORRISONBORN 1926 Weaving past and present, Jazz explores the lingering presence of the 19th-century South in 1920s Harlem. The shifts in time and narrative suggest the storys relatability across the African American community: It is a shared history of migration from the darkness of slavery and repression to the vibrant and hopeful but potentially destructive Jazz Age of self-expression. North and South CONTEXT Music Family Jazz informs the storys setting, mood, rhythm, and flow, shaping the writing and serving as the backdrop for key events. Broken families are at the center of the novel, emphasizing the painful and enduring legacy of slavery in the South. Motifs Main Characters Toni Morrison 1992 English Novel Author Year Published Original Language Jazz Historical Fiction

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