Volume 17, 2001
Communication, Conflict, and Reconciliation
Sally J. Scholz
Resurrecting Language through Social Criticism
Toni Morrison's Paradise as Insurgent Political Discourse
Social criticism can take on many forms ranging from theoretical exposition to non-violent protests. This paper considers literary art as a form of social criticism and uses Morrison's novel Paradise as the exemplary case to show that the confrontation of unjust ideas through social criticism is essential in building non-oppressive relations open to diversity. In this sense, social criticism is a paradigm of communication that, although often entailing conflict, ultimately aims at reconciliation. I begin with a discussion of social criticism followed by a short synopsis of the novel. I then examine the novel as social criticism focusing on a process I call "twinning." The paper ends with a critical evaluation of the power and possibilities of literary art as social criticism.