Morrison and Twain: The Black and White of It

Presented by Elaine Hughes, Ph.D., professor emerita, University of Montevallo

Though writing a century apart, Mark Twain and Toni Morrison have dared to explore in their fiction the great truths underlying their cultures’ espoused attitudes and beliefs. From Twain’s indictment of the hypocrisy of the 19th century to Morrison’s examination of contemporary society’s duality, their voices have provided readers penetrating portrayals of their fellow countrymen. An examination of the historical, political and biographical contexts of major works by these authors reveals the parallels in their social criticism—of the post-Civil-War era and the post-civil-rights period in America. “Morrison and Twain: The Black and White of It” is a presentation that attempts to put before an audience those questions about ourselves that we have difficulty confronting: our beliefs, our prejudices, our fears. Through examination of works by two major American writers—writing during tumultuous times in our country—we can understand those elements in our society that shape us and perhaps seek a better understanding of ourselves. Racism was at the root of the problems resulting from slavery; racism remains today at the root of many of our social problems. Literature can provide the vehicle by which each of us, and thus our society, can make that painful journey to self understanding.

A microphone needed if the meeting space is large; a TV with video and CD player are preferred.

Contact Elaine Hughes to book this presentation
(205) 665-7757