Orginal Publication Date
Explorations in Ethnic Studies
Linda Buck Myers's "Perception and Power Through Naming" is an especially interesting and perceptive analysis of some of the unique ways in which Toni Morrison uses language to develop meaning through characterization; and the article deals with issues that are at the thematic core of Morrison's four published novels. Indeed, the subtitle of the article, "Characters in Search of a Self in the Fiction of Toni Morrison," is perhaps a more accurate description of what the author properly finds to be basic to an understanding of Morrison's fiction. The need for people to achieve self-identity within a societal framework is, as the article suggests, what Morrison believes to be the way to happiness. It is because of their failure (both from within and from external forces) to fuse that seeming duality that Morrison's characters so often are tragic figures.
Copyright, ©EES, The National Association for Ethnic Studies, 1984