Art Will Always Be Political


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McGautha 1 Simon McGautha Dr Okonkwo English 4169 7169 Toni Morrison Her World and Her Work 9 April 2013 Art Will Always Be Political Marc Conner paints a picture for his readers that show us just how Toni Morrison writes her novels so that they are socially responsible as well as very beautiful pg 5 Because of her position and the role she takes on as author of such delicate pieces of work she demands criticism not only through literary lenses but political lenses as well Conner believes that Morrison wants readers to participate in her novels to be involved actively The scholarship detailing Morrison s position within a specifically African American aesthetic and cultural tradition is vast and impressive Conner states and certainly an understanding of Morrison s work requires immersion in the ways of knowing pg 7 Readers are encouraged to create the novel with her and to help construct meaning She gives us just a little and allows us to decipher the rest on our own Conner elaborates on the time that Morrison grew up in suggesting that the era she was raised in has an influence on the type of work she publishes During the time Morrison emerged there were contested ideas between art and the political arena pg 2 For Toni Morrison art cannot be effective without it being political All good art has been political and black artist have a responsibility to the black community In her works she aims at capturing the something that defines what makes a book black McGautha 2 And that has nothing to do with whether the people in the books are black or not pg 8 She thinks that one characteristic of black writers is the stamina that keeps going Her novels bear witness to the experience of the black community and blacks in that community Not only does Conner show us how Morrison writes and her goals while writing but also he compares her to W E B Du Bois and Langston Hughes who believed that there is no such thing as art without politics Conner inserts a paragraph from Du Bois essay The Criteria of the Negro Art what have we who are slaves and black to do with just Art For Du Bois this art only served purpose if it had a political motive Du Bois concludes in his essay all Art is propaganda and ever must be I do not care a damn for any art that is not used for propaganda pg 4 Agreeing with Du Bois Langston Hughes writes in his essay The Negro Artist and The Racial Mountain I am ashamed for the black poet who says I want to be a poet not a Negro poet pg 4 Zora Neal Hurston who Conner states is very committed to the freedom of the artist disagrees with Hughes She feels that by making art political a person is limited themselves She says that race is not something that burdens her or any other artist but should be something that is embraced Richard Wright a friend of Hurston disagreed with her He felt that she was in denial of the role politics played in aesthetics According to him Hurston needed to come to grips with motive fiction and social document fiction pg 4 Conner also criticizes Hurston and believes that she is simply using aesthetic terms to mask the social political struggles of her day Because of this fa ade Hurston has put on trying to McGautha 3 separate both politics and aesthetics it consequently ended her career Conner states The connection between her independent views on art and politics and her condemnation are provocative particularly in the light of Hughes private glee over her fall pg 5 Although Toni Morrison studied authors like James Joyce Thomas Hardy and Faulkner she has never tried to be like them Conner tells us that Morrison laments the efforts of critics to place her work into an already established literary tradition pg 2 Morrison doesn t frown at criticism but frowns at the criticism that doesn t reveal her immersion in black style of writing She felt that if white authors could write about their people and not be criticized for doing so then why can t she Morrison gives us enough information about the master narrative without telling us so much that we are forced to focus on him instead of the larger focus at hand Conner argues that Morrison s own position within the tradition of the AfricanAmerican literature makes her one of the most potent figure in this century long argument about the relative importance of aesthetics in the African American novel pg 6 The fact that she is so passionate about the black style of writing makes one wonder for which authors she would silence and for which ones she would be ashamed In Aesthetics and the African American Novel Conner is not only trying to clarify the style of writing Morrison has but by comparing Morrison to Du Bois Hughes and Hurston he is showing us that Morrison is not the only author to feel this way about black art she is just one of the first people to be successful at it In his opinion the way art meets politics in Morrison s work makes her so successful The fact that Morrison can resist reducing the writers role to just a social one Her work McGautha 4 Conner states never attempts to solve a social problem simply clarifies them pg 7 The point Conner is making is that the most successful writers do not try and separate politics from art It is unnecessary and essential to art

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