Thursday, April 28, 2022

Rereading Toni Morrison's "Paradise": Oklahoma, "the Convent", and "the white girl"

I was first thrilled by Toni Morrison's 1997 novel "Paradise" when it was first published. What remained years later in my memory was the landscape of Oklahoma as Morrison describes it, as well as the former convent where the five women live whose murder is announced in the novel's opening line: "They shoot the white girl first." When I finally reread it in preparation for my course on Morrison's middle novels, the landscape and the convent immediately came back. When I finished, I began reading the book again with a question: Which of the five women is white? But now I've learned that Morrison never says which of them is white. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 28 April 2022)

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