Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title page, Copyright page

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

read more

Preface

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-xi

Di Brandt begins the prologue to her book Wild Woman Dancing (1993) discussing how the birth of her first child in 1976 called into question all that she had learned—or thought she had learned—in her Masters English literature program completed the same year. She writes: “It was like falling into a vacuum, narratively speaking. I realized suddenly, with a shock, that none of the texts I had read so carefully, none of the literary skills I had...

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xiii-xiv

In Song of Solomon the narrator, commenting upon the importance of other-mothering, says this about Hagar Dead: “She needed what most colored girls needed: a chorus of mamas, grandmamas, aunts, cousins, sisters, neighbors, Sunday school teachers, best girl friends, and what all to give her the strength life demanded of her – and the humor with which to live it” (311). I believe that scholars likewise, need a “chorus of mamas"...

read more

Chapter One: A Politics of the Heart: Toni Morrison’s Theory of Motherhood as a Site of Power and Motherwork as Concerned with the Empowerment of Children

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-46

MOTHERHOOD IS A CENTRAL THEME in Morrison’s fiction and is a topic she returns to time and time again in her many interviews and articles. In her reflections on motherhood, both inside and outside her fiction, Morrison articulates a fully developed theory of African American mothering that is central to her larger political and philosophical stance...

read more

Chapter Two: Disconnections from the Motherline: Gender Hegemonies and the Loss of the Ancient Properties: The Bluest Eye, Sula, Tar Baby

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 47-72

MOTHERS, THROUGH THE TASK of cultural bearing, pass on to each successive generation of children African American culture and instill in their children knowledge about and pride in their African American heritage. More specifically, mothers pass on what I have called the motherline: the ancestral memory and ancient properties of traditional black culture. In so doing, cultural bearing or motherline mothering confers affirming images...

read more

Chapter Three: Ruptures/Disruptions of the Motherline: Slavery, Migration, and Assimilation: Song of Solomon, Beloved

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 73-91

THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER EXAMINED women’s disconnection from the motherline in and through identification with specific normative gender discourses, namely, those of the family, beauty, motherlove, and female fulfillment. This chapter considers how the African American motherline itself is fractured by historical trauma, in particular slavery, migration, and assimilation. Black women, in the task of cultural bearing...

read more

Chapter Four: Reconnections to the Motherline: Deliverance and Exile: Song of Solomon, Tar Baby

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 93-116

DISCONNECTIONS FROM, AND DISRUPTIONS OF the motherline were explored in the last two chapters: here the theme of reconnection is investigated. Surveying Milkman’s successful quest in Song of Solomon and Jadine’s failed quest in Tar Baby, this chapter will consider Morrison’s reflections on the theme of reconnection in terms of two interrelated questions: How is reconnection made possible and by whom? More than any of...

read more

Chapter Five: Maternal Interventions: Resistance and Power: The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Beloved, Paradise

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 117-152

THE RUPTURE AND REPAIR of the motherline were examined in the previous three chapters. This chapter emphasizes how mothers themselves seek to sustain the motherline and empower their children through the maternal tasks of preservation, nurturance, and cultural bearing. Black mothers are the cultural bearers who model and mentor the ancient properties and the funk of the motherline. Likewise, black mothers, through both preservation and nurturance...

read more

Chapter Six: Maternal Healing: Reconciliation and Redemption: Jazz, Paradise

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 153-170

MORRISON’S RENDITIONS OF MOTHERHOOD are truly horrifying: a son burnt to death; a baby whose throat is slit; children who are abused, abandoned, beaten, and neglected by their mothers—these harrowing events permeate all seven of her novels. The last chapter considered how these violations may be read as gestures of nurturance and preservation and, in particular, as maternal acts of resistance against a white supremacist and patriarchal...

read more

Conclusion

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 171-173

Toni Morrison’s theory of motherhood as a site of power and her model of motherwork as concerned with the empowerment of children centers upon a rearticulation of the everyday traditions and practices of black motherhood. More specifically, this rearticulation gives rise to a new consciousness of black motherhood that accords mothers power and enables them to empower children...

read more

Epilogue

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 175-180

In the fall of 2003, just as this book was going into final production, Toni Morrison’s eighth novel Love was published. This epilogue will briefly consider how this recently published novel may be read in the context of Morrison’s larger maternal vision, what I have called “A Politics of the Heart.” From this perspective, what strikes the reader most about Love is the absence of mothers and mothering. Unlike her previous seven novels...

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 181-196

Works Cited

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 197-215

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 217-229