Friday, February 4, 2011

Black Odyssey

My essay comparing Toni Morrison's Beloved and The Odyssey is up at the Millions today, the first Friday of Black History Month.

I'd like to affectionately dedicate it to my students who mocked my obsessive Odyssey references as we studied Morrison's novel this past semester and I developed the ideas that I explore in the essay. Thanks for your patience, guys.


aintstudyingyou said...

The essay was really lovely to read. I had certainly never thought of _Beloved_ in relation to the Odyssey, and I think your essay explains why while making a nice case for the advantages of a side-by-side reading.

Perhaps Morrison's interest in telling stories of women in their homes also contributes to the initial difficulty of seeing "Odyssey." I'm remembering conversations you and I had years ago about _Sula_ and whether/how it would work in an all-boys school. The years of Sula's wandering, actually, are elided in that novel, while Milkman's journey (including his encounter with an apparent witch named Circe) forms the rising action of _Song of Solomon_.

Her newest novel, _A Mercy_, may be the only one that really focuses on a woman on a journey. In any case, you've given me much to think about, and I thank you.

framiko said...

Interesting point about Sula. It's a shame we don't get to read about her travels.

I'm glad you found the essay stimulating!