Tuesday, August 11, 2020

"A threnody of nostalgia about pain" in Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye"

When Cholly Breedlove's Aunt Jimmy in Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye" seems to be recovering from an illness after the midwife M'Dear has treated her, Aunt Jimmy and her friends Miss Alice and Mrs. Gaines talk about "miseries they had had": "Their voices blended into a threnody of nostalgia about pain. Rising and falling, complex in harmony, uncertain in pitch, but constant in the recitative of pain." Out of their "fond remembrance of pains they had endured", these women create a veritable celebration of their lives. The harmony of their voices is a figure for Morrison's writing; the multiple perspectives "blend together" into a "threnody" made out of her characters' experiences. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 11 August)

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