Justify the Appropriateness of the Title of Morrison's Novel "Jazz" or Thematic and Symbolic Importance of Music. ~ All About English Literature

For Exclusive Notes and Analysis

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Justify the Appropriateness of the Title of Morrison's Novel "Jazz" or Thematic and Symbolic Importance of Music.

Justify the Appropriateness of the Title of Morrison's Novel "Jazz"

The novel borrows its title from Jazz music and the idea of music is discussed throughout the novel. As the name of the novel implies music operates both thematically and formally to provide structure to the book. The Jazz music of the 1920s situates the narrative in a specific cultural and historical moment, when a black aesthetic style was gaining ground in New Orleans and New York. Both the city and the woods of Virginia are described as having their own music and rhythm and the pace of narrator’s storytelling ranges from upbeat and fast to slow and “bluesy”.
Music also speaks to the individual characters on a deep level, as when Alice Manfred worries about the sinful powers of the music. Alice Manfred and the Miller sisters interpret Jazz music as the anthem of hell. The passion and pleasure that Dorcas and violet find in the music is contrasted with the musical treatment of Joe’s crime. When he stalks and shoots Dorcas, it is at a party where loud music is being played to incite passion, “boil” the blood and “encourage” misbehaviour. However, music can also be restorative, as Felice facilitates the healing process between Joe and Violet by bringing over her records and watching them dance.
For the entire novel, music is the weapon that the city wields to control its citizens. The seasons and weather are determined by the presence of clarinet players in the street. Music also bears a sadness that can be juxtaposed to violet’s ribaldry and Joe’s flared passion. Wild’s disappearance takes place as her body is replaced with a trace of music and this sound haunts Joe’s memory for the rest of his life. Similarly, the “blues man” who walks the streets becomes the “black-and- blues man” and finally, the “black therefore - I’m-blues man,” providing a critique of racism. The “blues” songs that the characters evoke are largely the consequence of suffering brought about by America’s racist traditions.
Jazz music is also a reference to the racial segregation prevalent in America of that time. “Cultural mourning” connotes the response of African Americans not only to the lost lives and lost possibilities produced by slavery but also the loss of cultural productions through appropriation by white culture. In her 1992 novel, Jazz, Morrison re-claims black music both by re-conceptualizing the Jazz Age and by employing the literary equivalents of its musical forms.
If one of the most notable things about the early decades of the 20th century was the overlapping of various modes of artistic development in response to an interval of dynamic social and cultural changes, one of the most regrettable features of histories of the period has been the tendency to maintain a segregated perspective, restricting the contributions of artists of the Harlem Renaissance to the “Coloured only” side of a long-perpetuated division in cultural and aesthetic analysis. For example, in Modem and Modernism: The Sovereignty of the Artist 1885-1925 (1985), Frederick R. Karl traces the common aesthetic roots of modernist literature, painting, and music without mentioning a single African-American artist in any of those mediums. More recently, revisionist scholars of the immensely fertile period that encompassed both the Jazz Age and the Harlem Renaissance have corrected such narrow views, not only underscoring the conjoined contribution of musicians, writers, and painters of the period but acknowledging the vital cross-fertilization that occurred among artists of different races and mediums. Thus, focusing on the artistic vitality of New York City during the second decade of this century, Ann Douglas emphasizes the “free and creative borrowings across race, class, and gender lines”.
Despite such cross-fertilization however—or perhaps because of it—not only jazz music but, more broadly, the Jazz Age to which it gave its unique aesthetic stamp was rapidly appropriated by white culture. As Douglas adds, “to appropriate something is to abstract it by taking it out of its matrix, its indigenous original context, in order to resituate it in a plan of one’s own making, a place alien to its natural habitat and design”.
In conclusion, we can say that with the writing of Jazz, Morrison takes on new tasks and new risks. Jazz does not fit the classic novel format in terms of design, sentence structure, or narration. Just like the music this novel is named after, the work is improvisational. In this work, she is influenced not only by the Jazz, blues, and gospel music she was reared on, but also by the folklore, tall tales and ghost stories that her family told for entertainment. The result is a writing style that has a unique mix of the musical, the magical, and the historical.
Don't forget to drop your views and queries in the comment section. Thank You.
~~~~~*~~~~~
Share:

Follow Me in Social Media

Get Free Updates

Tags

A Doll's House (1) A Renouncing of Love (1) Absurd Drama (2) African English Literature (2) Agyeya (1) Alexander Pope (7) American Fiction (1) American Literature (28) American Play (1) Amitav Ghosh (3) Analyses (22) Anglo-Saxon Period (1) Aravind Adiga (1) Arthur Miller (5) Arundhati Roy (1) As You Like It (1) Australian Literature (2) Beowulf (3) Bertrand Russell (2) Bible (1) Biographies (13) Book Review (2) British Literature (105) Broad Notes (94) Character Analysis (2) Charles Dickens (1) Charles Lamb (2) Charlotte Bronte (2) Chetan Bhagat (2) Chinua Achebe (1) Christopher Marlowe (2) Classical Literature (2) Composition (4) Creative Writing (6) D. H. Lawrence (1) Daniel Defoe (1) Diaspora (4) Drama (5) Dream Children: A Reverie (1) E-book Download (13) Edmund Spenser (1) Edward Fitzgerald (1) Edward II (3) Elegy (1) Elizabethan Era (2) English Language (18) English Literature (9) English Literature Quiz (10) Escapism (1) Essay (12) Essays (12) Eugene O'Neill (7) Explanations (3) Feminism (3) Francis Bacon (4) Frankenstein (4) Free E-book Download (7) Free PDF Download (6) Genre (1) Geoffrey Chaucer (1) George Bernard Shaw (1) George Eliot (4) George Herbert (1) George Orwell (1) Girish Karnad (1) Hard Times (1) Heart of Darkness (1) Henrik Ibsen (1) Henry Vaughan (2) Historical Novel (6) History of English Literature (22) Indian Drama (2) Indian English Poetry (1) Indian Fiction (5) Indian Writing in English (35) Indo-Anglican Literature (34) Interesting Facts (9) Interpreter of Maladies (2) Jane Austen (2) Jane Eyre (2) Jayanta Mahapatra (2) Jhumpa Lahiri (3) John Donne (5) John Dryden (1) John Galsworthy (3) John Keats (4) Joseph Addison (1) Joseph Conrad (1) Justice (3) Kamala Markandaya (1) Keki N. Daruwalla (1) Kenilworth (3) Kim (1) Knowledge and Wisdom (1) Leo Tolstoy (1) Linguistics (5) Literary Criticism (5) Literary Essay (9) Literary Facts (3) Literary MCQ (6) Literary Photo Album (1) Literary Terms (16) Literary Trends (1) Literary Types (8) Lord of the Flies (1) Lyric (1) M. K. Anand (2) Mac Flecknoe (1) Macbeth (7) Mahadevi Verma (2) Man Eater of Malgudi (2) Mark Twain (1) Mary Shelley (4) Mathew Arnold (1) Midnight's Children (1) Modern Poetry (3) Modernism (1) Motivational Short Story (21) My Penning (1) Nayantara Sahgal (1) Notes (25) Novel (62) Novels (10) O' Henry (1) Ode to a Nightingale (1) Ode to the West Wind (1) Oedipus Rex. Oedipus the King (2) Of Friendship (1) On Fame (1) Online Quiz (9) Othello (1) P B Shelley (1) P. B. Shelley (1) Paulo Coelho (2) Philological Notes (11) Phonetics (3) Picaresque Novel (5) Plays (46) Poetry (53) Popular Literature (1) Post Colonial Literature (1) Post Colonialism (1) Pride and Prejudice (2) Prosody (3) Pygmalion (1) Quiz (6) Quotations (6) R. K. Narayan (2) Rabindranath Tagore (2) Raja Rao (1) Random Quiz (8) Rape of the Lock (5) Realistic Fiction (1) Restoration Era (2) Rhetoric (2) Robert Browning (1) Robinson Crusoe (1) Romantic Poetry (3) Romanticism (2) Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1) Rudyard Kipling (1) Salman Rushdie (2) Samuel Beckett (3) Sarojini Naidu (1) Seven Ages of Man (1) Shakespearean Influence (2) Shakespearean Plays (12) Shakespearean Sonnets (4) Sheridan (4) Short Notes (11) Short Stories (9) Soliloquy (1) Songs of Experience (1) Songs of Innocence (2) Sons and Lovers (1) Sophocles (1) Sri Aurobindo (1) Substance Writing (1) Summary (8) Sylvia Plath (2) T. S. Eliot (2) Tennessee Williams (1) Texts (10) The Adventure of Tom Sawyer (1) The Alchemist (1) The Bell Jar (1) The Crucible (3) The Emperor Jones (7) The Golden Light (2) The Guide (1) The Mill on the Floss (4) The Namesake (1) The Pulley (2) The Rivals (5) The Shadow Lines (3) The Sunne Rising (5) The Superannuated Man (1) The Town Week (1) The White Tiger (1) The Winter's Tale (2) Things Fall Apart (1) Thomas Hardy (4) Thomas Wyatt (1) Toni Morrison (6) Tragedy (3) Tughlaq (1) UGC NET (1) Untouchable (2) Waiting for Godot (2) Walter Scott (3) Way of the World (1) William Blake (3) William Golding (1) William Shakespeare (15) William Wordsworth (3) Word Notes & Annotations (1) Word Notes & Anotations (2)

Blog Archive