What is the significance of the last quotation in A Mercy ("To be given dominion over another is a hard thing; to wrest dominion over another is a wrong thing; to give dominion of yourself to another is a wicked thing")?

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At the end of her novel A Mercy, Morrison sets up this hierarchy of ownership: from hard, to wrong, to wicked. To be given dominion over another, which is what happens with a mother and child, is a hard thing. We see that with a "minha mãe's" impossible choice to spare her daughter the sexual abuse that she has experienced at the hand of D'Ortega. She begs to have her daughter sold to another, knowing that this ultimate sacrifice will never be understood by the daughter she is seemingly abandoning. That is a hard thing, but a merciful thing.

To wrest dominion over another—as we see in terms of slavery and also between men and women in this novel—is wrong. We see this injustice as slaves are sold from hand to hand, and also in the way that men treat women as property (D'Ortega with Florens's mother, and Vaark with Rebecca). There can be no justice with the innate inequality of such tipped scales.

Finally, Morrison turns to when the subject willingly gives dominion to another, and she...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 905 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 22, 2020