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Social Philosophy Today

Volume 17, 2001

Communication, Conflict, and Reconciliation

Sally J. Scholz
Pages 203-216

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.

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