[Paradise [BOOK] Free Reading eBook ✓ Toni Morrison

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Ting past present and future this novel of mysterious motives reveals the interior lives of the citizens of the town with astonishing clarity The drama of its people from the four young women and their elderly protector to conservative businessmen rednecks a Civil Rights minister and veterans of three wars richly evo I swear it s the most fulfilling when you read an author and you have ambiguous feelings towards them and their writing But being an unbiased fair desperately enthusiastic reader you come back to give it a second try and it will be with that second book that you make your definitive judgement towards the author either you like them or don t You respect their writing and just can t get down with it or you think their writing is crapI thought I didn t like Morrison I respected her as I could judge from the first book I read by her that she knew what she was talking about And as far as I could smell there was no propaganda about her writing in which she wrote for personal gain not to educate about Afro American life I think that claim about another African American writer and it unsettles me greatly because the writing is good and it sucks to think the intention isn t as well But with Morrison s writing I wasn t sure I was gaining much information or insight into the past I thought she hid too much of it behind a fantastic plot magic than reality This second and last time proved to the second and best and proved it definitely won t be the last While I really did like and appreciate Beloved the focus on family and the description of fear turned to desperate measures I could not really get into the vignettes that depicted the slave life I didn t discount it let s just say I felt I could read about it somewhere else and get a stronger bullet through the heart feeling that depictions of slavery leave you withI got such a stronger picture of life through Paradise I have no idea if it was because there were references to things I had available knowledge on such as the civil rights era But either way I got several lessons out of this book I ll list them off so this reverie can be over1 Not all self righteous people with a cause are doing it for the right reasons2 Some African Americans felt just as privileged and pompous as whites3 Dark skinned African Americans felt hatred towards lighter skinned ones although this is misdirected anger4 Fear of integration will only cause unhappiness5 Don t judge a woman without knowing what in her past caused her to actbehave in xyz way no matter how vulgar you may find it6 Don t judge a book by a well written synopsis or by the first chapter no matter how confused you are Of that last lesson my thoughts on this novel evolved constantly The first chapter which begins in medias res not only confused me it made me think this won t be good Even now after finishing it and loving it and getting a good grip on it s meaningpurpose I don t know how to classify it It s a feminist book a story of how women can embrace let go and rise above their horrors and achieve a spirituality that is both not understood and even so feared it s a story of how you can live a clean life and people will conjure up the dirtiest story against you taking your life into their hands it s a story about judgement and justification to feed a personal and destructive agenda it s a story about one s duty as an African American towards their race it s a story of a corrupted delusional people that only destroys itself and hurts it s descendants Most importantly it s a story about us vs them young vs old progressive vs traditional open minded vs close minded free spirit vs stuck male vs female It s about there not being a right way to live only one s own individual way to live And that way is only destructive if you re living for the wrong reasons Touchstone judgement towards the author either you like them or don t You respect their writing and Chocolate Candy Always Melts In The Sun Poems AboutLove betrayal anger struggle and understanding just can t get down with it or you think their writing is crapI thought I didn t like Morrison I respected her as I could Love is Blind judge from the first book I read by her that she knew what she was talking about And as far as I could smell there was no propaganda about her writing in which she wrote for personal gain not to educate about Afro American life I think that claim about another African American writer and it unsettles me greatly because the writing is good and it sucks to think the intention isn t as well But with Morrison s writing I wasn t sure I was gaining much information or insight into the past I thought she hid too much of it behind a fantastic plot magic than reality This second and last time proved to the second and best and proved it definitely won t be the last While I really did like and appreciate Beloved the focus on family and the description of fear turned to desperate measures I could not really get into the vignettes that depicted the slave life I didn t discount it let s Straight To Sleep Gay Somnophilia just say I felt I could read about it somewhere else and get a stronger bullet through the heart feeling that depictions of slavery leave you withI got such a stronger picture of life through Paradise I have no idea if it was because there were references to things I had available knowledge on such as the civil rights era But either way I got several lessons out of this book I ll list them off so this reverie can be over1 Not all self righteous people with a cause are doing it for the right reasons2 Some African Americans felt Sea Witch Rising Sea Witch just as privileged and pompous as whites3 Dark skinned African Americans felt hatred towards lighter skinned ones although this is misdirected anger4 Fear of integration will only cause unhappiness5 Don t Catching Fire judge a book by a well written synopsis or by the first chapter no matter how confused you are Of that last lesson my thoughts on this novel evolved constantly The first chapter which begins in medias res not only confused me it made me think this won t be good Even now after finishing it and loving it and getting a good grip on it s meaningpurpose I don t know how to classify it It s a feminist book a story of how women can embrace let go and rise above their horrors and achieve a spirituality that is both not understood and even so feared it s a story of how you can live a clean life and people will conjure up the dirtiest story against you taking your life into their hands it s a story about The Wiley Handbook of Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, 2 Volume Set (Wiley Clinical Psychology Handbooks) judgement and The Apple Bandit (Nancy Drew: Notebooks, justification to feed a personal and destructive agenda it s a story about one s duty as an African American towards their race it s a story of a corrupted delusional people that only destroys itself and hurts it s descendants Most importantly it s a story about us vs them young vs old progressive vs traditional open minded vs close minded free spirit vs stuck male vs female It s about there not being a right way to live only one s own individual way to live And that way is only destructive if you re living for the wrong reasons

SUMMARY ò VANSOUTLETMALL.CO.UK ✓ Toni Morrison

Paradise

Four young women are brutally attacked in a convent near an all black town in America in the mid 1970s The inevitability of this attack and the attempts to avert it lie at the heart of PARADISE Spanning the birth of the Civil Rights movement Vietnam the counter culture and the politics of the late 70s deftly manipula Sometimes you have to hold up your hands as a reader and admit maybe you didn t do a book justice I found Paradise really difficult to follow Mainly this is due to there being no central character The central character instead is a town called Ruby where only blacks live and are free of white legislation and a nearby building known as the convent The awfulness of men and magical prowess of women is its theme Well not uite but the divisions drawn here are not between blacks and whites but between men and women The men drawing their inspiration from the past the women much inclined to look forward I d be interested to know how many characters there are in this novel I would guess about a hundred and they all have significance which for me meant Morrison was asking too much of the reader No doubt a novelist lives obsessively in the novel she s writing As a reader this isn t the case We have the rest of our life to get on with every day If a character who has only had two lines reappears after a hundred pages it s almost cruel to expect us to remember him or her And yet if we don t remember them here we are punished shoved out of the narrative To fully appreciate this novel I d guess you d have to read it in three sittings Unfortunately I was only managing to read about twenty pages a day On top of that I wasn t really convinced by any of the characters At the beginning a lynch party of men set out with guns and various other weapons to put an end to the reign of a few mysterious women living in the building outside the town A witch hunt in other words The men have managed to convince themselves these women are ungodly The novel then goes backwards in time to document both the history of the small town of Ruby and the various women who have ended up at the convent There s some cleverness in the construction of this novel I liked how it turns full circle which does create a lot of intrigue but there s also a good deal of clumsiness For starters the characters aren t particularly memorable with perhaps one or two exceptions A lot of them especially the men seemed interchangeable Neither is the prose as haunting and exalted as Morrison s usual fare So though I felt I didn t do it justice I can still say with conviction it s no Beloved In fact it s my least favourite of the Morrison novels I ve read

FREE READ Paradise

Kes clashes that have bedevilled American society between race and racelessness; patriarchy and matriarchy; religion and magic; freedom and belonging; promicuity and fidelity Magnificent in its scope PARADISE is a revelation in the intensity of its portrayal of human complexity and in the sheer force of its narrative Paradise was not well received upon its publication in 1997 influential critics like Michiko Kakutani James Wood and Zo Heller disparaged it and even Oprah s audience instructed to read it for the talk show host s book club demurred prompting Oprah to call Morrison to offer the viewers encouragement One of the studio audience members protested that confused by the novel s multiple perspectives and non linear chronology she was lost on page 19 Oprah asked Morrison what the poor woman was to do and Morrison s reply which I have never forgotten was Read page 20 Unsurpassable advice Profiling Morrison in 2012 Boris Kachka summarizes the case against ParadiseBoth Philip Roth s American Pastoral and Don DeLillo s Underworld came out in 1997 the year Paradise did Both addressed historical eras and themes as Morrison does but both spoke directly to contemporary anxieties in a way that Paradise did not Roth and DeLillo were nostalgic for an old American consensus and alarmed at its disintegration and both used voices resonant with modern paranoia and neurosis In contrast Morrison still seemed to be in cross racial dialogue with the same long dead Modernists on whom she d written her thesis in the fiftiesThis is both right and wrong Morrison does reject any nostalgia for postwar consensus whether or not Roth and DeLillo express this nostalgia is another matter but in so doing she very much speaks to contemporary anxieties the problem is simply that many readers did not like either what she said or how she said it They are entitled to their opinions about the what but once you have allowed such opinions to cloud your view of the how for example none of the above critics show any awareness that Paradise is often supposed to be funny then you have lost critical controlLet s get the what out of the way right now Paradise bears an epigraph from a gnostic gospel narrated by a female deity and it concludes with the theophany of a black madonna Searching for a term to describe its apparent ideology I could come up with nothing neutral than New Age It is a novel that parodying the Bible at least entertains the notion that our religious sensibilities must expand to include female divinity While this view would undoubtedly not interest Philip Roth much it along with other dissident religious approaches harking back to gnostic and pagan cults was undoubtedly reflected in much late twentieth century Anglo American culture Such views are embarrassing to the liberal intelligentsia because said intelligentsia legitimates itself by its appeal to secular knowledge and often materialist or at least spiritually orthodox intellectual methods and not without reason This religious reflex I believe and not simply snobbism or sexism accounts for the critical cringe Nick Salvato writes about with respect to Tori Amos some of whose songs see Marys of the Sea for instance could furnish a soundtrack to Paradise But I did write above that Paradise entertains its religious thesis rather than straightforwardly promoting it As Boris Kachka notes Morrison remains faithful to modernism If modernist writers from Eliot to Woolf shared one thing in common it was a commitment to putting forth their spiritual intuitions in obsessively fragmented and recursive literary forms to remind readers to take no single narrative on faith especially not narratives about faith This brings us back to Oprah s audience and their problem with Paradise the novel has no single viewpoint no clear chronology no central character and no reliable perspective The most basic facts of the narrative remain in doubt by its conclusion Even the miraculous resurrections with which it seems to end could be explained by a mixture of lucky escape and hallucination Condemning religious orthodoxy and political ethno nationalism for their shared demand of unthinking assent Morrison leaves her readers free to differ with her suggestion that they worship the goddessThey shoot the white girl first the novel famously begins Its opening chapter is really its penultimate one narrating the story s climax in July 1976 nine leading male citizens of the all black town of Ruby OK murder five women who are living in a former convent near the town This first chapter is maddeningly indirect as none of the men or women is named over we see through the men s POV so that the perspective is unreliable from the start They are nine over twice the number of the women they are seeking the second paragraph begins but as Ron David long ago pointed out nine is not over twice five these little word problems occur throughout the text making it impossible to read passively The opposite of a mystery novel though something of a mystery play Paradise tells us who committed the murder in the first chapter and then spends the rest of the book seeking an explanation The next eight chapters each bearing a woman s name tell the story of how four women on the run assembled in the late 1960s and early 1970s in an embezzler s mansion that became a Catholic convent and Indian boarding school before falling into disuse In the stories of these women Mavis Gigi Seneca and Pallas Morrison enumerates the threats faced by the poor the young or the female such as poverty state violence domestic violence and sexual predation from the mundane Mavis s marital rape at the hands of her husband to the outlandish the Eyes Wide Shut scenario to which Seneca is subjected by a wealthy woman named Norma Keene Fox Animal imagery abounds in the women s stories from aforementioned predator Keene Fox to the name of Mavis s mother Birdie Goodroe as does classical and mythical allusion Pallas Seneca to signal that this novel asks to be read skeptically as a work of exaggeration as fable and myth rather than strict social realism In fact Morrison parodies realism with aplomb in the Mavis chapter throwing brand names and other dirty realist paraphernalia onto the page with witty abandon this to trick us into thinking that Mavis is the white girl of the first sentence by writing about her in the literary idiom associated with the white lower class Realism too Morrison here tells us is a fable one whose moral we might distrust As in her oft misunderstood statement about Bill Clinton as the first black president Morrison is making the point that tropes of blackness are often simply tropes of poverty the latter fact deliberately obscured by the powers that be to divide the poor Those eight chapters also interleave the women s stories with the story of the founding of Ruby the one all black town worth the pain Summarizing this straightforwardly is no easy feat since the narrative comes piecemeal and from partial perspectives The basic story is this a group of very dark skinned black people who had lived near Louisiana since the mid eighteenth century found themselves at the end of Reconstruction dismissed or oppressed not only by whites but also by lighter skinned blacks This led them to found their own town called Haven in 1890 in Oklahoma when many all black towns were created due to the federal government s encouragement of homesteading When Haven fell into poverty and disrepair in the mid twentieth century the grandchildren of Haven s founders set out again and founded a new town called Ruby In the 1960s and 70s however Ruby is torn by the social conflicts tearing apart the rest of the country between men and women old and young conservative and radical These conflicts center on the town s symbolic center a brick oven that bears the words the furrow of his brow The contending ideological forces in the town differ over how this message is the be completed Beware the Furrow of His Brow as the conservative town elders insist or in the preferred message of the young radicals echoing the gnosticism that Morrison evokes with her epigraph Be the Furrow of His Brow Or even as one of the town s female citizens thinks Be the Furrow of Her Brow Eventually the town elders come to see the convent women as the source of their troubles not a convent but a coven and go on a witch hunt Just before they are hunted down the women consolidate themselves into a uasi religious order The old woman Consolata who was kidnapped from a Rio slum by the nuns and who has lived in the convent ever since becomes the new revised Reverend Mother for a kind of mystery cult wherein the women shave their heads and heal themselves with loud dreaming and artistic expression These scenes provoked a not entirely unpersuasive objection from Zo Heller in the London Review of Books the narrative itself dissolves into Adrienne Rich ish poetry but just as Morrison is unsparing in her portrayal of the racism and colorism that led the men of Ruby to their extremes of intolerance so her tongue never uite leaves her cheek in her depiction of this New Age religion which makes the women too otherworldly to function Gradually they lost the days Warned by a female citizen of Ruby that they are about to be attacked the women yawned and smiled a small detail but a crucial one Morrison who once rather hair raisingly wrote that it is wildly irresponsible not to inuire about women s complicity in their own rape or abuse places supreme importance on personal autonomy and the material means of self reliance In the last glimpse we get of the convent women after they have either come back from the dead or are appearing as ghosts to their loved ones they are on the road and they are armed Come back from the dead yes however hedged by modernist techniue Paradise entertains a spiritual notion It does not entirely dismiss Christianity Ruby s newest clergyman Rev Misner is sympathetic to the young radicals in the town and muses with elouence and authority on liberation theologySee The execution of this one solitary black man propped up on these two intersecting lines to which he was attached in a parody of human embrace fastened to two big sticks that were so convenient so recognizable so embedded in consciousness as consciousness being both ordinary and sublime See His woolly head alternately rising on his neck and falling toward his chest the glow of his midnight skin dimmed by dust streaked by gall fouled by spit and urine gone pewter in the hot dry wind and finally as the sun dimmed in shame as his flesh matched the odd lessening of afternoon light as though it were evening always sudden in that climate swallowing him and the other death row felons and the silhouette of this original sign merged with a false night sky See how this official murder out of hundreds marked the difference moved the relationship between God and man from CEO and supplicant to one on one The cross he held was abstract the absent body was real but both combined to pull humans from backstage to the spotlight from muttering in the wings to the principal role in the story of their livesAll the same the definition and defense of female divinity comes into view as the novel s theme To the men of Ruby the women they hunt are bodacious black Eves unredeemed by Mary But Consolata tells us that Eve is Mary s mother and the novel ends very beautifully with Consolata in the arms of black madonna presumably like that worshipped in her native BrazilIn ocean hush a woman black as firewood is singing Next to her is a younger woman whose head rests on the singing woman s lap Ruined fingers troll the tea brown hair All the colors of seashells wheat roses pearl fuse in the younger woman s face Her emerald eyes adore the black face framed in cerulean blue Around them on the beach sea trash gleams Discarded bottle caps sparkle near a broken sandal A small dead radio plays the uiet surfThere is nothing to beat this solace which is what Piedade s song is about although the words evoke memories neither one has ever had of reaching age in the company of the other of speech shared and divided bread smoking from the fire the unambivalent bliss of going home to be at home the ease of coming back to love begunWhen the ocean heaves sending rhythms of water ashore Piedade looks to see what has come Another ship perhaps but different heading to port crew and passengers lost and saved atremble for they have been disconsolate for some time Now they will rest before shouldering the endless work they were created to do down here in paradiseIn other words don t divide Eve from Mary whore from madonna but adopt a holistic spiritual view capable of embracing flesh and spirit capable of leading us away from domination based on or justified by differenceDo not miss as the early critics did the ending s emphasis on endless work nor the admission that down here is all the paradise we re likely to get What is the endless work The work of interpretation Midway through the novel Ruby s resident writer Patricia who has been assembling a genealogy discovers that the men of the town have been maintaining their racial purity through incest in a parody of white racism They think they have outfoxed the whiteman when in fact they imitate him Upon finding this out she burns her family trees this to suggest that any attempt at purification is to be rejected as an arbitrary imposition Ruby s elderly midwife Lone takes a view of God that is in keeping with the novel s narrative modePlaying blind was to avoid the language God spoke in He did not thunder instructions or whisper messages into ears Oh no He was a liberating God A teacher who taught you how to learn to see for yourself His signs were clear abundantly so if you stopped steeping in vanity s sour juice and paid attention to His worldRead the clues try to assemble the narrative but accept in advance your defeat even as you press forward in trying to understand I accept there is so much to say about Paradise About characters and their names His grandfather had named his twins Deacon and Steward for a reason about twins and doubles I have merely alluded to Morrison s parody of the Biblical Exodus and its American re creation by the Puritan settlers and I have not even mentioned how the novel emphasizes that both Ruby and the convent exist only because the land was cleared by the state of its prior Native American inhabitants I have not mentioned the novel s love of nature its endless invention its food the hot peppers that grow only at the convent Nor have I mentioned Paradise s flaws it really is too short and feels thinner than it should as a result with poetic prose often doing duty for narrative and characterization James Wood was not wrong in this complaint A novel of this spiritual and political ambition should be as long as The Brothers Karamazov and I am convinced that Morrison would not bore us at that length Well every narrative is flawed including that of Paradise as Paradise itself tells us Even so after twenty years we can say that its first critics judged it too hastily or too ideologically It sits on the shelf without embarrassment next to the most ambitious fictions of its time Don t take my word for it Read it and see for yourself It is often said that Morrison does not reveal who the white girl is but this is false readers are told her identity indirectly but decisively on the penultimate page of the eighth chapter Her identity is crucial to the novel s theme of race as class for the convent s lone white girl is also its lone rich girl


10 thoughts on “Paradise

  1. says:

    Sometimes you have to hold up your hands as a reader and admit maybe you didn’t do a book justice I found Paradise really difficult to follow Mainly this is due to there being no central character The central character instead is a town called Ruby where only blacks live and are free of white legislation and a nearby building known as the convent The awfulness of men and magical prowess of women is its theme

  2. says:

    They shoot the white girl first but the rest they can take their time No need to hurry out here They are 17 miles from a town which has 90 miles between it and any other Hiding places will be plentiful in the convent but there is time and the day has just begun They are nine Over twice the number of the women th

  3. says:

    The moment I wake up before I put on my makeup I say a little prayer for you but on that in a moment Reading this after reading The B

  4. says:

    Why is it that so often in life the very thing you’re trying to avoid becomes you Why do the oppressed become the oppressor Why do the abused become the abuser Why do those who demand openness and euality become insular and elitist Why does the love that we strive so hard to obtain turn into a protective curse when we attempt to contain it vs allowing its empathy and compassion to extend to all These open end

  5. says:

    This is the most complex book I have read from Toni Morrison It is the story of a black community called Ruby in rural Oklahoma in the 70s and the reaction to a female commune of sorts called the Convent out on the edge of the town At issue here is skin tone the 8 rock dark black founders and their suspicions towards those with lighter ski

  6. says:

    I swear it's the most fulfilling when you read an author and you have ambiguous feelings towards them and their writing But being an unbiased fair desperately enthusiastic reader; you come back to give it a second try and it will be with that second book that you make your definitive judgement towards the author — either you like them or do

  7. says:

    Paradise is one of my favourite words I believe it came first from an ancient word in Farsi that means only a park which says something about the Iranian idea of a park perhaps I think paradise is a place of welcome and peace and love and in this book I think that is what the founders of the town Ruby wanted to create at a safe distance from racism and related violence vertical and horizontalBut the folks in power are

  8. says:

    Paradise was not well received upon its publication in 1997—influential critics like Michiko Kakutani James Wood and Zoë Heller disparaged it and even Oprah's audience instructed to read it for the talk show host's book club demurred promp

  9. says:

    There are few authors that can make me feel as stupid as Morrison makes me feel time and time again This novel centers on

  10. says:

    Why did I read this book before reading Beloved and Jazz when it is supposed to complete the trilogy I'm bummed by that I couldn't help it I found the book on my shelf and decided to read it along with The Bluest Eye Then there I was reading it and thinking why was this book not titled “Beware the Furrow of His Brow” or “Furr

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