Exploring the Artistic Ossature of Nature and Function of Horror in Toni Morrison's Novels



The historically painful scars left by slavery in the psyche of the surviving African American community, the horrible devastations caused by the two World Wars and the financial collapse of the Great Depression of 1929 that ruined the American economic capacities prompted a sceptical feeling for the future of the American society. Besides, the racialist ideology that persisted in America despite the complete abolition of slavery creating thereby a class-based society, and the phallocentric spirit which disregarded woman brought in a pessimistic sentiment in the lives of blacks. This distressful state of affairs was exacerbated by the rise of a rampant capitalistic imperialism which alienated the human condition of the ordinary American individual.  A large part of Toni Morrison’s fiction draws from these painful experiences that stunted the American society especially the African American community. An artistic reading of her writing indicates a significant presence of elements of the terrifying, of revulsion and disgust that pervade her narratives and which render Morrison’s novels a horror fiction. This paper explores the nature and function of the artistic structure of horror that Morrison deploys in her writing to decry human depersonalization and advocate an establishment of an inclusive American society.


horror; fear; terror; universal horror; consequential horror

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