Thursday, November 02, 2006

Toni Morrison

Throughout the semester we have been asking the simple question of what is a city? And as we continue on with our reading, I feel that we are coming closer to actually understanding the meaning behind what a city is. It seems that actually understanding a city can only come about by knowing the individual, different aspects that are within the city. In Toni Morrison's article "City Limits, Village Values" she gives us yet another layer for understanding the city. She states at one point that, "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." [37] It seems that by having the Year of the City, this is exactly what we are out to achieve, we are trying to break out of the Loyola "Neighborhood" and experience the other ones so that we can actually say we understand Baltimore.
After reading The Women of Brewster Place I was struck by how Brewster Place was like a little village. Then Morrison goes on to say how a key part of a village are the community values and having your ancestors. In Brewster, the women are trying to develope community values but since Brewster is cut off from all the other "neighborhoods" it is hard for them to develop into a stable community. And it comes down to the character of Mattie to be the ancestrial ties for the rest of the people.
She is the character who bring the importance of the community to Brewster. The other characters are comfortable with Mattie and often turn to her for support. Mattie is the motherly figure who watches with a concerned unconditional love. She has made her mistakes and continued on, much like a city has to. She brings a connection for many people to their pasts, but is constantly urging them forward. A city, as we know, is constantly changing, but the connection to the past is necessary to show us how far we have come.