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I think that you can find many different paths in answering this question. The novel is more than one centered on the issue of race. It might not do it justice to categorize it as solely one of race. However, it is important to note that Morrison's work does speak extremely powerfully to the issue of race, racism, and the lingering effects of past injustices on both the present and the future. The idea of presenting a character that struggles on both and emotional and historical level to overcome a past into a present and future of hope is powerful and speaks to all human beings. Another reason why the work is significant is because Morrison writes about the issue of slavery from both racial and gender valences. It is important to understand that African- American women endured a whole other host of challenges that men did not have to face in such an intense manner. Sethe's fundamental crux is avoiding slavery and killing her child in order to do so. For the most part, men did not have to make such a choice. I think that its significance is present on this level. Finally, I think that Morrison's work challenges the conventions of "the canon." It is important to note that Morrison's work belongs in any collection of American Literature even though it raises question and doubt as to how the canon reflects American History. Morrison is making the point that American Literature can critique American History. In this, the work is highly significant.
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