Toni Morrison Slavery

1656 Words 7 Pages
Toni Morrison, the often-mentioned Howard University alumna, is best known for her literary writings concerning race and America. Her works are centered around African Americans and seeks to bring a fresh perspective to the literary world that was rarely seen at the time her works were being published. The Origins of Others, a collection of six essays composed by Mrs. Morrison, contains similar themes to her previous works. The novelist credits her grandmother for inspiring her to write this novel: "…she awakened in me an inquiry that has influenced much of my writing…I am excited to explore the education of a racist-how does one move from a non-racial womb to the womb of racism, to belonging to a specific loved or despised yet race-influenced …show more content…
Cartwright was a slave owner and doctor that lived in the American south. The language used in his writing is aimed towards pacifying the minds of slaveowners and white Americans in general, whose society is based in freedom, yet participate in the system of enslavement. The following excerpt from his text that Morrison used in Romancing Slavery shows the lengths to which Cartwright went to dehumanize African peoples to justify slavery: "negroes, as a general rule, to which there are but few exceptions, can only have their intellectual faculties awakened in a sufficient degree to receive moral culture, and to profit by religious or other instruction, when under the compulsatory authority of the white man…the black blood distributed to the brain chains the mind to ignorance, superstition and barbarism, and bolts the door against civilization, moral culture and religious truth" (4). Such language does nothing to help remedy the attitude towards African-Americans that was present at the time. Cartwright's intent with this report is clear: he is trying to make his case for why the African race is beneath the white race. Cartwright even goes as far as to associate a slave's desire to escape bondage as an illness, which he calls …show more content…
As the title of Morrison's chapter implies, romanticizing slavery was another method to making it appealing to white Americans. The purpose of literary attempts to romanticize slavery are to, Morrison says, "render it acceptable, even preferable, by humanizing, even cherishing, it" (9). Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin is the literary work Morrison uses to show how the concept of slavery was something that white Americans should not oppose. Morrison draws the conclusion that Stowe's message to her (white) readers is "slaves control themselves. Don't be afraid. Negroes only want to serve. The slave's natural instinct, she implies is towards kindness…" (10). Stowe idea that slaves act independently and choose to serve whites goes hand in hand with Cartwright's report of blacks profiting best when under the authority of the white

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