Thursday, November 02, 2006

Morrison's View

In reading City Limits and Village Values I had mixed feelings on Morrison's points. I didn't like the fact she tried so hard to present evidence to divide White authors from Black authors. Those types of division, no matter what ethnicity the reader is can cause unease and cultivate prejudices. While I appreciate her take on Black and White writers as a Black female, I think her tone of writing could have been more open. She used such intense judgment which caused her to create vast generalizations about White versus Black literature.
Morrison writes, "the affection of Black writers (whenever displayed) for the city seems to be for the village within it: the neighborhoods and the population of those neighborhoods. The city itself was "a crypt down which heretics were hurled" (pg 37). While I agree with Morrison that neighborhoods and the unity of people are a very important part of a city, I do not agree that it is so rare a find in a city. Nor do I agree that it is mainly a value village within the city, because I think neighborhoods can be an actual element of the city, derived from the city bringing people together.
When Morrison speaks about the portrayal of Black people in cities through literature I found much truth in what she wrote. She wrote, “For Black people are generally viewed as patients, victims, wards, and pathologies in urban settings, not as participants” (pg 37). To me this quotation sums up what Naylor’s writings symbolically said through the existence of the brick wall. The brick wall cut the people of Brewster Place off from having the ability to be participants of the city. I think this is also true in parts of Baltimore. In particular slums, such as areas of Fells Point, when I am driving down to my volunteer sight I reach a certain point when I feel there is an invisible wall. Suddenly the streets become wide, abandoned and eerily quiet. At this point I know I have entered one of the poorer regions of Baltimore. It is cut off from the rest of the lively bustle of Fells Point and the rest of the city. The members of the project homes become silenced and separated within their own city. Yet it is in these people I have learned so much about Baltimore’s essence, in their stories or even their very personalities. I agree completely with Morrison when she writes, “It may be that the positive and negative aspects of urbanism can best be articulated by those who know it, but who have no vested political, cultural, or philosophical interests in supporting or rejecting it as it presently exists” ( pg 37).