Category Archives: Morrison (Toni)

Trump’s Wall, Symbolic or Literal?

Monday Literature majors will find their training useful in understanding why Donald Trump has chosen to shut down the government. It has to do with the difference between the symbolic and the literal. A literal wall makes very little sense, with the $5.5 billion dollars that Trump is demanding from American taxpayers (not from Mexico) […]

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Lit as a Survival Toolkit

Thursday Friend and occasional guest blogger Carl Rosin alerted me to a heartfelt Commonweal article by an English professor describing how literature helped her confront and work through childhood abuse. Cassandra Nelson’s difficult history leads to some remarkable insights into trigger warnings, which she opposes. Nelson’s view on trigger warnings is pretty much my own […]

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Michelle Obama’s Favorite Books

Tuesday The indispensable “By the Book” column in the New YorkTimes recently interviewed Michelle Obama about her favorite books, and her answers are fascinating. I’ll list them and then discuss the patterns I see: Novels she’s currently reading –Zadie Smith, White Teeth, which Malia also loves –Tayari Jones, American Marriage –Mohsid Hamid, Exit West –Anne Patchett, […]

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The U.S. Open as a Toni Morrison Novel

The tempestuous match between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka reminded me of the Nel-Sula drama in Toni Morrison’s novel.

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Comey vs. Trump, Two Alpha Dogs

James Comey is right to fight for American justice against Donald Trump but his male pride helped get Trump elected. Toni Morrison describes the dynamics in “Song of Solomon.”

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Magical Realism’s Special Powers

Magical realism defined and its significance discussed.

Also posted in Garcia Marquez (Gabriel), Murakami (Haruki), Rushdie (Salman) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Like Sula, Trump Unites Old Opponents

Trump has brought liberals and center-right Republicans together in a way resembling how Sula unites the town in Toni Morrison’s novel. So what will happen after Trump leaves the stage.

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Lit for Survivors Lost in a Dark Wood

Monday Commonweal recently published a heartfelt article by West Point visiting English professor Cassandra Nelson on how literature can help trauma survivors recover. Nelson begins with an angry comment about a University of Chicago dean’s facile dismissal of  trigger warnings, even though she herself opposes them. She, however, speaks from the vantage point of one […]

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Surrendering to the Air

As I zip-lined in the Smokies, I thought of the concluding paragraph of Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon.”

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  • Literature is as vital to our lives as food and shelter. Stories and poems help us work through the challenges we face, from everyday irritations to loneliness, heartache, and death. Literature is meant to mix it up with life. This website explores how it does so.

    Please feel free to e-mail me [rrbates (at) smcm (dot) edu]. I would be honored to hear your thoughts and questions about literature.

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