Toni Morrison is one of the most significant novelists of the postmodern period. Her novels have consistently explored the African American experience, using historical, social, and psychological themes to focus especially on the experiences of women. Morrison’s first novel was The Bluest Eye (1970), and her 1977 novel Song of Solomon led to a National Book Critics’ Circle Award. Her work as an editor at Random House led to the publication of The Black Book (1974). Beloved (1987) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 1988, and Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (1992), a critical work, was a national best seller. In 1993, Morrison received the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Morrison’s novels combine psychological realism, social critique, symbolism, and the mythopoetic, resulting in a style similar to Magical Realism. Although her works are not limited to social protest, Morrison is concerned with racial themes frequently encountered in African American literature. Her novels reflect the workings of communities, the dilemmas faced by these families, and the problems encountered in their relationships. She also has addressed historical issues such as nineteenth century slavery. Her fiction celebrates survival and defines black identity as multifaceted. Influenced by William Faulkner and Ralph Ellison, she uses vernacular and poetic prose to create a stylistic balance between...
(The entire section is 899 words.)
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