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Magic Realism and Boundary–Work in Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In her novel Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison blends “the acceptance of the supernatural and a profound rootedness in the real world at the same time, with neither taking precedence over the other”. This blend allows the novel to be placed in the genre of magical realism which is “the commingling of the improbable and the mundane”. The blend can also be seen as enhancing when it comes to breaking free from boundaries put on the characters in their mundane lives. The magical elements in the novel do seem to trigger some kind of boundary-work by the community depicted.

Lamont and Molnár argue in their article The Study of Boundaries in the Social Sciences that the process of boundary-work is present in all social relations. Lamont describes boundary drawing within and across societies as being “deeply embedded in the environment” and it is therefore worth asking how fictional communities exhibit that kind of process. This essay discusses how the magical elements in Toni Morrison’s novel Song of Solomon triggers boundary-work, which causes characters to draw social boundaries in order to include or exclude phenomena that belong to the supernatural. Boundary-work is present throughout the whole novel, but this essay will focus on the characters explicitly related to the magical aspects, mainly Pilate, Milkman, Macon Jr. and Ruth, in order to prove that the process of boundary-work is indeed triggered by magical elements in order to draw social boundaries that both include and exclude.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-61714OAI: diva2:437244
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2011-08-30 Created: 2011-08-28 Last updated: 2011-08-30Bibliographically approved

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