Social Injustice For African Americans In Toni Morrison's Novel, Jazz

679 words - 3 pages

Social Injustice for African Americans in Toni Morrison's Novel, Jazz


Jazz, a novel by Toni Morrison, explores many different aspects of African American life in the early part of the twentieth century. This novel tells a story of the difficulties faced by black families living in the United States. Toni Morrison describes in detail a few of the upsetting situations they had to face. She also subtly throughout the book places one or two lines that tell a tale of injustice. Jazz is a novel filled with many stories of inequality affecting the black community.

One significant theme that is present throughout the story is the one of unequal rights for African Americans. One instance of social injustice is described in the very beginning of the novel when the reader first learns about Dorcas’ murder. The book explains that Alice knew she would get nowhere even if she chose to prosecute Joe, because lawyers could not help and cops would not help or even take a black on black crime seriously. Had Dorcas been a murdered white girl I am sure that Joe would have been thrown in jail the same night as the shooting.

Another example of the social injustice that came up a few times in this novel was the one of unequal treatment within the medical, police and fire departments. Dorcas’ mother was killed in a fire because the firengine did not bother to go to that part of the town. “That part of town” obviously being the black part of town. Another consequence of social injustice was within the medical field resulting in Dorcas’ death. Had the ambulance gone to help Dorcas when they were called maybe Dorcas could have survived. These cases show the extreme prejudice that blacks had to face at the time.

Toni Morrison shows social injustice within a one or two line sentence many times in the book. One example of these inconspicuous lines tells about the discrimination towards blacks: “ And although the hair of the first class of...

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