Wednesday, May 12, 2021

"Mingus puts me to sleep": Jadine Childs and jazz and gospel music in Toni Morrison's "Tar Baby"

In Toni Morrison's "Tar Baby", Jadine Childs, a twenty-something black woman, tells her benefactor Valerian Street, a seventy-year-old white man, that Valerian's son Michael made her "want to apologize for what I was doing, what I felt. For liking 'Ave Maria' more than gospel music, I suppose." Earlier, the same musical figure comes up when Jade ponders the intentions of Ryk, a white man in Paris who'd proposed to her:  "[...] what will happen when he finds out [...] that Mingus puts me to sleep [...]"? For Jadine, the young white men around her might be disappointed because she doesn't enjoy the music that a black woman is supposed to enjoy. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 12 May 2021)

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