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From Wasteland to Oasis

Author MaJunXiao
Tutor LiZhengShuan
School Hebei Normal
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords spiritual wasteland soul spiritual oasis black cultural traditions
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Toni Morrison is one of the world’s premier writers and the first African-American woman who wins the Nobel Prize for Literature. As a black classic, she focuses all her attention and care on exploring African-American destiny in her works, especially that of black females.Song of Solomon, Morrison’s third novel and a key text in corpus of her work, has been popular with both critics and readers. In this novel, Morrison explores African-American history, culture, spiritual world, and outlet in modern America. The novel is considered to be a masterpiece in caring racial fate and spiritual pursuit and an epic of recovery of self and cultural tradition.Through analyzing the novel, this thesis demonstrates the distorted living situation of African-Americans in America, explores the causes of it, and describes their ways out of it. Through unveiling and analyzing these sides, the thesis studies the theme of the novel: Morrison’s solution to the way of living for African-American in the United States. The thesis falls into three chapters. The first chapter deals with spiritual wasteland. The blacks in the novel are living on spiritual wasteland and in their life, they are lacing in love, communication, and faith. The second chapter analyzes the causes of such kind of living state. The reasons that the blacks degenerate into such living situation are the social conditions existed in America: the widespread racism, materialism, class-consciousness, and sexism. The third chapter exposes the blacks’ways of constructing their spiritual oasis. To a large or small extent, the blacks step out of their spiritual wasteland and into spiritual oasis through revival of love, restoring communication, and regaining faith in the end.In short, the American social conditions distort blacks’life and soul and cause their spiritual crisis. The best way for African-Americans to live a happy and meaningful life, according to Morrison, is to embrace their cultural traditions only which can provide infinite, incomparable, and invaluable substance for them, spiritually and culturally. Besides that, other ways such as extreme nationalism and assimilation to American mainstream only lead blacks to becoming culturally and spiritually rootless, feeling alienated, and even losing their own humanity.

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