Morrison's Narrative Revolution in Postmodernism Essay examples

Morrison's Narrative Revolution in Postmodernism Essay examples

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Challenging existing perceptions of narrative authority is a common writing practice amongst authors. While Morrison works to reassess the role of the narrative voice, she does so in an unconventional manner. In her novel Jazz, Morrison draws attention to the unreliability of the narrator through her1 inconsistency and bias. Morrison's flawed narrator helps connect her book to postmodernist African-American themes. By restructuring the narrative role within the book, Morrison makes her book Jazz a postmodernist text.
Morrison initially creates an unreliable narrator through the inconsistency of the narrative voice. Because Morrison does not reveal the identity of the narrator until the end of the novel, everything known about her prior is revealed through her “personality” that comes through in the telling of the story. The acquainting process is complicated by the continual shift in the narrative personality. Frequently, the narrator speaks from the perspective of a communal voice, but also shifts into a more personal register. In one of her rare breaks into a more personal tone, the narrator explains “People say I should come out more”, but this one of the few times she speaks about any sort of relationship to other people ( Morrison 7). Usually, the narrator adopts an omnipresent, removed persona. The breaking of this persona throughout the novel contributes to an unpredictable way that the narrator has of presenting herself in relationship to the text. There are other variances in the narrative personality outside of persona changes. Much like the inconsistency of the narrative style in the story, the narrator frequently changes mood and the way she relates to the characters. Because of the discordant attitudes of the narrat...


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...nd biased, which drastically affects the way the story is both told and read. Morrison challenges the conventional narrator, which links her text to postmodernist thought. Finally, when Morrison assigns the identity of the book to the narrator, she links the narrative style of the book itself to African-American and postmodern culture.



Work Cited

"Discover the Story of EnglishMore than 600,000 Words, over a Thousand Years." Home : Oxford English Dictionary. Web. 19 Mar. 2012. .

 Dubey, Madhu. "The Postmodern Moment in Black Literary and Cultural Studies." Signs and Cities: Black Literary Postmodernism. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2003. Print.

Morrison, Toni. Jazz. New York: Plume, 1993. Print.

West, Cornel. "Nihilism in Black America." Black Popular Culture. By Gina Dent and Michele Wallace. Seattle: Bay, 1992. 37-47. Print.

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