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In Toni Morrison’s book "Jazz" the setting is Harlem, New York in the 1920's. Joe and Violet are a married couple. Joe cheats on his wife and then kills a young girl, 18 year old, Dorcas. He is never convicted of the crime. The theme relative to this is infidelity.
Violet never directs the blame at Joe. Instead she directs it towards Dorcas. At the funeral Violet shames herself by attacking the girl's corpse. She is ostracized in the community because of her actions. Violet deteriorates mentally as time goes on. She is terrified of loosing Joe.
There is deeper meaning in the lives of the couple. Both have had childhood needs that had gone unmet. Their childhood issues have had a negative effect on their marriage.
Towards the end of the book the couple is able to work through their issues and with the help of a family member Joe is able to better understand his actions and why the girl died.
The books themes are jealousy, fear, guilt, and redemption.
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