Multi-award winning novelist Toni Morrison has never failed to impress the literary community with her work. Some of her most famous works include “Sula,” “The Bluest Eye” and “Beloved,” never failing to use rich language or create extremely vivid images of characters. They have all forged a path toward a successful career for Morrison.
Focusing mainly on women in her novels, Morrison explores themes of racial tension, sexism and shameless desire. But what makes her such a profound novelist is that she has the ability to intertwine a number of themes into a single novel, giving her books depth in both meaning and plot. Due to this ability, Morrison is able to share lessons within her novel or make comments on society, which helps her connect with people through her work and makes her such a significant writer in American literature.
One of her most recent novels, “Home,” has once again accomplished what all her previous works achieved years before, but with a different voice. Published in 2012, this thin 145-page book follows Frank Money, a 24-year-old Korean War veteran returning back to a 1950s racist America after battle. Originally enlisting with a group of friends just to get out of their hometown of Lotus, Georgia, Money returns from war after losing every friend in battle and a series of painful memories.
Throughout the novel, Money battles with his sense of self and ultimately the fact that his home is not how he remembers it, or how he remembers himself in it, “the worst place in the world, worse than any battlefield.” After hearing ambiguous news of his little sister, Cee, and her need for help, Money travels back to Lotus to protect her. On his travels, Money begins to shuffle through memories of life before he want to war and how he and his sister were raised. Ultimately, he begins to question what it means to be a man, and Morrison quite explicitly leaves the readers to ponder the idea of acts of violence as masculine. Is it possible that sacrifice is implicit in manhood, and laying down one’s life for another is an unspoken act of justification in masculinity?
Overall, “Home” is an extraordinary novel, shining light on the possibility of healing. Using a male protagonist in this novel, aside from her atypical African-American female, Morrison was able to create a new perception of common themes used in her novel and play with the idea of manhood and how we view it as a society. If you’re into deep, insightful plots in your novels, then Morrison is definitely a writer you should look into. With only 145 pages, “Home” is a quick read you could get through in a weekend, and every time you read it proves a satisfying read.