Relativism In Toni Morrison

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Among many characteristics of postmodernist thinking, an especially crucial one is relativism, the concept that one individual’s understanding of the world differs from another’s due to his personal experience. Each person experiences his own, albeit biased, version of the truth, informed by his background and cultural identity. Relativism finds its start in post-World War II America, a time when cultural identity becomes more prevalent and informs the way every person interacts with his surroundings. People begin to use many different labels and identifiers to create quasi-tribal cultural groups, and the public values the idea of diversity. The postmodern principles of relativism, cultural division, and diversity, in turn, lead writers like Toni Morrison, an influential African-American author and Nobel Prize winner, to tell stories based on perspective. Often focused on various aspects of identity, these stories showcase the many cultural groups of America. They commonly feature how details of a person’s character impact his life experience and view of the world. As a postmodernist, Morrison uses fragmented narratives, a technique often characteristic of modern works, to convey this type of storytelling. By introducing the plot in non-chronological order, she shows how every piece of her characters’ pasts leads to their present. She centers her novels around race and gender as identities that affect her characters’ lives, placing emphasis on their familial and historical

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