Why was race created and projected as a deciding factor of estrangement? What has caused humanity to Otherize and why does the Other evoke fear? What compels the human tendency to utilize horrid violence as a primary, not last, means of control?
In “The Origin of Others”, Toni Morrison undertakes such questions that inquire the significance of definitions, identity, and the national redundancy of “otherizing” individuals that do not suit conceptualized norms. In this collection of essays, she employs the complexities and historical allusions within a few of her most renowned works of fiction: Paradise, Beloved, and A Mercy. Morrison also brings authors such as Ernest Hemingway & Harriet Beecher Stowe into the conversation as well as her own detailed memories. Toni Morrison discusses the projected definitions of blackness through various dimensions from science, politics, and social dynamics. She examines these projections of racism and it’s effects with a comprehensive look into samples of nineteenth century literature, ideas of scientific racism (Samuel Cartwright), and historical accounts of slaves and their slave holders.
“The Origin of Others” is an uncut, thought provoking, and insightful book that I would recommend for all to read and incorporate into study.