Toni Morrison is gone. Her work remains to provoke and inspire us. As part of my book on the metaphor of standing, one essay looks at the metaphor she contrasts with Faulkner’s. Here the abstract:
As I Stood Fighting
Toni Morrison’s Home as Response to William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying
The metaphor of standing permeates William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and Toni Morrison’s Home. A series of parallels between the novels suggests that Morrison has created an antithesis to As I Lay Dying.
Faulkner’s novel is superb in its evocation of the static, stagnant, helplessly standing lives of poor white Mississippians. Morrison dreams a house of action for her African-American characters. Instead of a coffin, instead of a coffin-of-a-novel that depicts a nearly interminable attempt to get Addie Bundren to where she will be buried, instead of a novel in which standing is most often a gesture of stasis, Morrison writes a novel that features the standing metaphor in its active sense: anastasis—resurrection / standing up. Her novel might well bear the title “As I Stood Fighting.”