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ToniMorrisonBelovedChristianAllegory

ToniMorrisonBelovedChristianAllegory

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Published by gitarguy18
This is a final essay I wrote for an African American literature course. It links three Toni Morrison books to a rough outline of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. My Thesis is that Morrison whether consciously or unconciously wrote a Chronicles of Narnia type allegory, with "Beloved" being the climax, or "Lion, Witch & Wardrobe". Please do not steal this or use without credit. Hope it is inspiring
This is a final essay I wrote for an African American literature course. It links three Toni Morrison books to a rough outline of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. My Thesis is that Morrison whether consciously or unconciously wrote a Chronicles of Narnia type allegory, with "Beloved" being the climax, or "Lion, Witch & Wardrobe". Please do not steal this or use without credit. Hope it is inspiring

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Published by: gitarguy18 on May 07, 2010
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Toni Morrison's Beloved:The Climactic 2
nd
Book of her Three Part Christian Allegory
 by Adam Stewart
 
Toni Morrison's Beloved: The Climactic 2nd Book of Morrison's Christian Allegory
IntroductionWhen one looks even a little bit beyond the surface story in Toni Morrison's Beloved, thesymbols and allegory she uses as paintbrushes look more like C.S. Lewis then Uncle Tom's Cabin,though it's undeniable that the truth that prompted the writing of Uncle Tom's Cabin is present here. If Lewis had been an African American woman with slave ancestors, who more comfortable with the body, more poet then monumental mind, he could have beaten Morrison to writing this Trilogy. Insome ways she is more obvious then C.S. Lewis, beginning most of her works with a scripture verse(or Christian allusion) and giving characters Biblical names, but in other ways much more elusive. Theallegory lies below the surface, hints and tinges of truth mostly obscured because of Morrison'semphatic yet disjointed descriptive style. Morrison's Trilogy of 
 Jazz 
,
 Beloved 
, and
 Paradise
roughlycorrespond to C.S. Lewis three allegorical works in the chronicles of Narnia,
The Magicians Nephew
,
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
, and
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader 
, and the Biblical eventsof Creation & the Fall, Redemption, Heaven & the New Creation.
 Jazz 
begins the Trilogy by quoting from the Nag Hammadi , the corpus of writings of the firstChristian heretics, the Gnostics. “I am the name of the sound, and the sound of the name. I am the signof the letter and the designation of the division” (
 Jazz 
, inside cover). The image of the apple and Adamand Eve throughout sings like a jazz riff throughout the rest of the book. The first sin in God's perfectcreation and the first heresy that took root after Christ's resurrection and the founding of the newchurch are interminably linked. Both are rejections of God when his love is most heated, most pure,and most apparent.
 Jazz 
is all about variations on that theme. While Adam and Eve remind the reader of paradise, most of the notes Morrison's narrative plays are on the jazzy painful repetition of the songof sin looped and reshaped time after time, measure after measure. Jazz music's chaotic seemingly un-linked passages on the same thing are the perfect metaphor for this work. Men leave women. People
 
kill each other. Men persecute other men in slavery. People walk away from God and try to findfulfillment in a thousand other places, trying to own, possess others in destructive abandon. The NagHammadi quote strings together these 2 seemingly unrelated topics; music and the shapes of brokenrelationship with God and people.. Book one sings a thousand mournful Miles Davis-esque variationson the one song of sin.
 Beloved 
then is the story of God's redemption in Jesus Christ. Allegorically it paints thesacrifice of Christ, resurrection, and the sending of the first disciples. The primary focus of this essay is
 Beloved 
, so I will give it only a brief mention here to emphasize it's place.Finally,
 Paradise
concludes the trilogy with a mix of revelation events, the last battle betweengood and evil and the journey that eventually arrives in Paradise, where Jesus told the thief on the crosshe would be. “And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke23:43). Paradise is capitalized in the Bible and capitalized in Morrison's title, because the place is onein the same. Mavis escapes on the wheels of the redeemed death car, her version of Elijah's chariot, or acar made out of the cross of Christ. Chariots typically represent war and violence, but with Elijah it isredeemed into a heavenly flaming 4 horse transport with one stop service to the gates of Paradise.“And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.”(2 Kings 2:11) A vehicle of death becomes avehicle of life. The Cadillac that her kids died in becomes Mavis 4 cylinder Elijah-esque chariot toreach the heaven of California's coast. Redeemed by being covered with maroon paint(the color of Jesus Christ's dried blood), she sets out. Her road to Paradise is not as easy as the thief's or Elijah's. TheCadillac breaks down, but when it does people help along the way. In the end she arrives though. Likethe Biblical heaven is not an ending but a beginning, so Morrison ends Paradise with “love begun.”(Paradise 318). The new heavens and new earth, new tree of life, a new creation without the evil of thefirst are not as fully defined in
 Paradise
as in Revelation, but both fill the soul with longing for thatwondrous place. The book ends with Mavis in Paradise drinking in joyous wonder of “the

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