Can't I Love What I Criticize?
The Masculine and Morrison
AUTHOR: Mayberry, Susan Neal
PUBLISHER: University of Georgia Press
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Taking a close look at all the key male figures in Toni Morrison's eight novels, this book explores Morrison's admitted, but critically neglected, interest in the relationships between African American men and women and the Ã¢eoeaxesÃ¢e on which these relationships turn. Most Morrison scholarship deals with her female characters. Can't I Love What I Criticize? offers a response to this imbalance and to Morrison's call for more work on men, who remain, in her words, Ã¢eoeoutside of that little community value thing.Ã¢e
The book also considers the barriers between black men and women thrown up by their participation in a larger, historically racist culture of competition, ownership, sexual repression, and fixed ideals about physical beauty and romantic love. Black women, Morrison says, bear their crosses Ã¢eoeextremely well,Ã¢e and black men, although they have been routinely emasculated by Ã¢eoewhite men, period,Ã¢e have managed to maintain a feisty Ã¢eoemagicÃ¢e that everybody wants but nobody else has.
Understanding Morrison's treatment of her male characters, says Susan Mayberry, becomes crucial to grasping her success in Ã¢eoecountering the damage done by a spectrum of sometimes misguided ismsÃ¢e-including white American feminism. Morrison's version of masculinity suggests that black men have Ã¢eoesuccessfully retained their special vitality in spite of white male resistanceÃ¢e and that Ã¢eoetheir connections to black women have saved their lives.Ã¢e To single out her men is not to negate the preeminence of her women; rather, it is to recognize the interconnectedness and balance between them.
PUBLICATION DATE: 12/25/2007
CATEGORY: Literary Criticism