Friday, March 24, 2017

Janey

Upon first reading Beloved, I did not make the connection between the Bodwin's housekeeper Janey and the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. On first impression, it was just a normal name that was decided upon by the author's choice. Now, I am aware of the significance of the name in relation to Morrison's purpose of the novel, which is most likely interpreted as civil rights and issues of the post-war era. Many remnants of these racial issues are still seen today, so this topic is certainly relevant to today's readers. This hidden meaning can have some comparison to the hidden signals that slaves used to communicate with each other in order to plan escapes. I think that by adding the aspect of this name, Morrison has included another dimension of her already intricate novel that makes us think in more detail about her intentions.

5 comments:

Rickeia Coleman said...

The name Janey was introduced to us as another means to connect all issues that black people of the time period were facing. For instance, Morrison also incorporates the idea of the mule to say that black women are like the mules in that they work hard and carry all the burden but are not appreciated. From the very beginning, Morrison even states that the book was written for all the slaves who struggled under slavery and throughout the novel we see this struggle beyond just what Sethe and a few other people experience. The character, Beloved, also represents the slaves who had to undergo the unfortunate circumstances of being on a slave ship. Morrison skillfully connects all of these together to make a cohesive piece that is more than what it appears to be.

Dylan Bryan said...

I think it was subtle but very meaningful for Toni Morrison to pay homage to Their Eyes Were Watchig God. Both novels are considered to be two of the most notable race novels in history. Morrison brilliantly found a way to show her respect for the influence of Hurston. Rickeia points out that Beloved is written for more than just the story of one family, but for the story of an entire race. Morrison masterfully connects these different aspects to portray a message and a story of the years of pain and struggle that slaves have gone through.

Bailey Taylor said...

I also think that the novel is representative of not just the slave struggle, but the continuing racism that still exists even today. Toni Morrison points out that slavery left permanent scars on the entire race and that the repercussions are still felt even today. People like to think that all of this is behind us, but is it really?

Julia Scofield said...

Another way that Toni Morrison connects slavery and the lasting effects is by the ghosts that haunt 124. They are the ghosts of slaves and of Blacks who were violently killed. Their ghosts remain in the house and their voices are heard.

Julia Scofield said...

The effects of slavery continue today. The United States hold 5% of the worlds population and 25% of the worlds prisoners. That is because the system was created in order to unfairly target people of darker skin tones. When the thirteenth amendment was ratified, it included a clause that slavery could be used as punishment for a crime. So, in order to get free labor, black people were demonized and arrested for petty crimes. Now, those in the system tend to be of darker skin tones due to racial bias.