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Dr Wendy Weber English 28 MWF 1PM December 7 2001 Paradise or War The Impossibility of Harmonic Separatism In the search for paradise many strive to find this idealistic place never knowing what they are looking for Often people envision paradise to be a sort of imaginary utopia with no cares or worries In reality though paradise cannot be a mythical and unreachable place but somewhere on Earth that lives and breathes perfect harmony Toni Morrisons first novel since her Nobel Prize entitled Paradise attempts to examine the possibility of Heaven on Earth Toni Morrison weaves her latest novel on the loom of a single question Why do we base our conception of paradise on separation and exclusion Shockley 718 In the work she also addresses the ever-present issue of separatism between the black and white people in Mississippi and Louisiana compelling the blacks to establish Ruby an all black community can end in a violent attempt to preserve precious heritage The themes of separation and division are apparent throughout the novel not only between black and white but young and old male and female and even amongst blacks themselves Morrison uses these two themes to demonstrate that the elders dream of an all black paradise is merely a regression into the world they are so eagerly trying to escape Toni Morrison originally began writing her novel under the presumption of titling it War which gives a strong indication into the character of the Ruby community Ironically both the titles War and Paradise are clearly referring to the town that she has created By this total change in title the part that inevitably sets the mood of this novel Morrison immediately demonstrates her attempt to create a community walking a tightrope between war and paradise In essence Morrison implies that both titles represent Ruby paradise for those so eager to remove prejudice but war for those too ignorant to preserve it
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