Morrison's Jazz: The African-American Rhythm of Memory
Prof. Donald Kartiganer (University of Mississippi)
Like the musical genre of its title, Toni Morrison's Jazz is a set of variations on a theme. The theme is loss: of grandparents, parents, children, lovers. The variations, however, do not so much return to an original pattern as they create the pattern, filling it out as if from a naked base. Somehow, the rendering of the theme of loss is not a music of loss, but of the exuberance that loss requires in order to be loss. Is it, for example, a sign of grief or of double gain that Violet expresses when she discovers that “from the very beginning I was a substitute and so was he”?