Tài liệu Insights on pursuit for meaningful life in selected works of toni morrison (sum)

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1 THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Socialist Republic of Vietnam BATANGAS STATE UNIVERSITY Republic of the Philippines Ph.D. CANDIDATE: VU THI QUYNH DUNG (DZUNG) INSIGHTS ON PURSUIT FOR MEANINGFUL LIFE IN SELECTED WORKS OF TONI MORRISON Specialty: English Language and Litera ture DISSERTATION SUMMARY OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE THAI NGUYEN, 2014 2 The study was done at: INTERNATIONAL GRADUATE STUDY PROGRAMS, THAI NGUYEN UNIVERSITY Scientific supervisor: Dr. Maria Luisa A. Valdez The peer review 1: .................................................. The peer review 2: .................................................. The peer review 3: .................................................. The dissertation is defended to the Panel of Experts at: ................................................................................ ................................................................................ Dissertation can be found at: - National Library - Learning Resource Center, Thai Nguyen University - Library of International Training and Development Center - Library of Batangas State University, Philippines 3 LIST OF AUTHOR’S PUBLCATION 1.Vu Thi Quynh Dung, Maternal Love of Black Mothers in “Beloved” of Toni Morrison – Journal of Technology.No 27, 10/2003- 57-61 (ISSN 1859-3968) Scientific and 1 Pursuing a meaningful life is a fundamentally important goal for anyone who lives on earth. Whether the meaning of life is formulaic and what should we do to gain the significance of life are really complicated questions. The answers are different from cultural and ideological backgrounds. Different people hold different views about meaningful life. In general, if an average person possesses these five things, their life will be significant: a faith in God, a meaningful family life, a meaningful career, bosom friendship, and the positive contribution to the society. Those five important components foster one another to strengthen the life of the being. For women, a part of a meaningful life derives from the liberation of their own. Throughout the world, governments have committed to achieve the equality between men and women. However, their status in many countries remains considerably inferior of men in many aspects of life. In developed countries, women are still suffering from unequal wage in the workplace, from sexual harassment; the prevalence of men in political, economic field, and others… Similarly, the status of Vietnamese women has been greatly improved since the foundation of the country in 1945. Women are more respected in families and in society. Nevertheless, in many parts of Vietnam, women are victims of discriminations, violence, obstacles and gender disparities. That is the reason why the search for a meaningful life of Vietnamese women is an endless struggle. Among the writers who writes about women’s life, Toni Morrison is one of the outstanding ones with novels about the diverse 2 and complex lives of black women within the black community as well as holding that community responsible for its own. The wisdom embodied in the selected works of Toni Morrison could be one of the motivating factors that could help the Vietnamese students re-examine their lives and values when they become aware of her genuine philosophical dimension. With this thought in mind, the theme “Insights on pursuit for meaningful life in selected works of Toni Morrison” is chosen to study. The structure of dissertation includes 5 chapters. 3 CHAPTER I THE PROBLEM 1.1. Statements of Problem The study seeks answers to the following questions: 1. How do the selected works of Toni Morrison manifest the sufferings of Black women in terms of: 1.1 racial oppression; 1.2 gender inequality; 1.3 emotional abandonment; and 1.4 women’s sufferings? 2. How are the sources of strengths and motive of women’s resistance shown in: 2.1 love between mother and children; 2.2 husband and wife relationship; 2.3 freedom and equality; and 2.4 self identity? 3. In what manner do the women in the world portrayed in the novels express resistance to the different forms of violence? 4. What are the implications of the themes pursued in the novels to the study of meaningful family life among Vietnamese students? 4 1.2. Scope, Delimitation and Limitations of the Study This study analyzes the insights on pursuit for meaningful life in selected works of Toni Morrison namely Song of Solomon and Tar Baby, pointing out the events and situations which show honest implications of the themes pursued in the novels to the study of meaningful family life among Vietnamese students. Likewise, this paper tries to present how the selected works manifest the sufferings of black women in terms of racial oppression, gender inequality, emotional abandonment, and women’s sufferings; the sources of strengths and motive of women’s resistance as shown in the love between mother and children, husband and wife relationship, freedom and equality, and self-identity; and the manner how the women in the world portrayed in the novels express resistance to the different forms of violence. The representative literary works of Toni Morrison entitled Song of Solomon and Tar Baby were constituted the primary and twining sources of the study to analyze. The said selections were chosen because of including the themes in the statements of problem. Likewise, these works have been taken up in critical analysis far less frequently than Morrison’s other popular novels entitled “Beloved, The Bluest Eyes, Sula, A Mercy, Peeny Butter Fudge, and many more. 1.3. Significance of the Study Academic Managers. Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training, the educational institutions ensure that the insights on the pursuit of meaningful family life are integrated in the academic. This will also inspire them to spawn activities in the curricula that will educate the 5 academic community of the beneficial outcomes of contemplating and aiming for a meaningful family life to all people regardless of gender, race, nationality and religious backgrounds. Working Professionals. the analysis may showcase how they could to explore their journey into a meaningful family life and lifestyle and the positive implications of eschewing excess stuff in favor of focusing on life’s more important aspects: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution. Media Practitioners. This study may inspire them to introduce an intervention strategy known as entertainment education on the media to change cultural attitudes, norms and behaviors that would benefit audiences. College Instructors of Literature. This analysis will be helpful in the instructor’s methodology in teaching literature as an inquiry into using the appropriate literary theories and approaches in literary analysis. In addition, this will provide them with opportunities to touch the concept of meaningful family life in their literature classes and open their students’ mind and hearts to the meaning of life as a philosophical and spiritual question concerning the significance of life or existence in general that maybe drawn from the selections. Students of Literature. Not only will this analysis give them an extensive and profound outlook in life with reference to a person’s pursuit of meaningful life through the lives and experiences of the writers and the characters in the selected literary pieces, it will also make them realize the real essence of human existence. 6 Members of the Community. This paper will make them understand that life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose. For most people in the community, feeling happy and finding life meaningful are both important and related goals. Other Researchers. This paper may inspire them to conduct more researches on different ways Each issue of the dissertation is recommended to be a more intensive and extensive research of the theme. On the basis of study, a further in-depth research on a meaningful life for Vietnamese youth is also recommended. 7 CHAPTER II REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE This chapter is presented with the end view of identifying the constructs of the study. 2.1. Conceptual Literature The review of the conceptual literature yields four types of constructs, which are used in the analysis and interpretation of the literary pieces dissected. These constructs include: Literature and Philosophy, Toni Morrison and her Significant Works, Meaningful Family Life in Vietnam, and Sociological and Philosophical Approaches in Literary Criticism. 2.2. Research Literature This section presents the published and unpublished researches that are related to the present study. 2.3. Synthesis of Literature Reviewed This section justifies the direct bearing of the conceptual literature to the present study followed by the presentation of the similarities and differences of the cited research literature to the present study. 2.4. Conceptual/Theoretical Framework This section presents the central theme or the main thrust of the study. It serves as a guide in conducting the investigation. It is followed by a paradigm which is a diagrammatic representation of the conceptual framework. 8 2.5. Definition of Terms This section presents the terms defined conceptually and operationally for a better understanding and appreciation of concepts as they are used in the study. The terms defined are as follows: emotional abandonment, gender inequality, meaningful family life, racial oppression, self-identity, women in the world, and women’s suffering. 9 CHAPTER III RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 3.1. Research Design This study employed the qualitative method of research in analyzing the tenets of black women’s pursuit for meaningful life in the representative literary works chosen. Likewise, this study involved content analysis, which is a systematic technique in analyzing message content and message handling. The data analysis in this research centered on pattern seeking and the extraction of meaning from Toni Morrison’s selected linguistic or visual data. Much effort was directed toward task of recording data through different methods like coding and categorizing; attaching concepts to the categories, linking and combining abstract concepts; creating theory from emerging themes, and writing an understanding. Textual criticism was employed in this research to examine in the texts the idea that literature can be a writer’s channel for conveying his philosophical dimension of searching for a meaningful life. Likewise, philosophical approach, and sociological approach were applied in this study. 3.2. Treatment of Materials The criteria are adopted to the process of analysis: linguistic accessibility, literary accessibility, cultural accessibility and storytelling quality. 10 In subjecting the materials to internal and external criticism and analysis, the meaning and trustworthiness of the statements in the aforecited primary sources were carefully chartered and analyzed. To attain congruency between the theories used in explaining the black women’s’ insights on pursuit for the meaning of life, coding and categorization were conducted. In this study, the categories which served as coding units include the following: manifestations of black women’s sufferings; sources of strengths and motive of women’s resistance; manner in which the “women in the world” express resistance to the different forms of violence; and the implications of the themes to the study of meaningful family life among Vietnamese students. Direct lines were lifted from the selections served as the primary texts and juxtaposed with the theoretical statements discussed. These passages from the chosen prose substantiated the theoretical basis of the study. 11 CHAPTER IV INTERPRETATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA 1. The manifestation of the sufferings of Black women in the selected works of Toni Morrison 1.1. Racial oppression The novels reflect the hard life that Black women experienced as being colored. The oppressive forms derive from externalized force such as violence, maltreated behavior, mistreatment by the white or even by the black ones. They also suffer from the internalized force such as hatred of the physical appearance of the black, the desire to become white-like women. 1.2. Gender inequality The analysis shows that black women were oppressed by the conventions of the patriarchal society about the role of women at home, in marriage and in relationships with men. The society put on their shoulders the burden of responsibility for the bulk of child bearing and rearing, of housework.Their world was restricted within the family. These conventions considered black women as submissive, passive group. They wounded black women physically and emotionally. 1.3. Emotional abandonment Emotional abandonment is a very significant aspect of the sufferings of black women in Morrison’s novels. She explained the different forms of abandoning act experienced by the female 12 characters in her novel that led these characters to became oppressed. In the world of the works, men took control in relationships. When they no longer felt those interesting, they tried to give up their partner. Then women became the victims of the abandonment. They suffered from both physical and emotional abandonment. 1.4. Women’s sufferings Black women in the selected works suffered from hundreds of humiliation in life, from domestic violence to suspicion, alienation of their closest people and the community. They were bruise wounded or even killed by their husbands. Their spouses mistrusted their faithfulness. Their effort to satisfy the husbands were not properly appreciated. What they said or did were always made fun of or decried. They could not have a normal life because they were black and they were women in the male-dominance society. 2. The sources of strengths and motive of women’s resistance 2.1 Love between mother and children Mothers in the novels showed their unconditional love in different ways. They suffered from the violence of the husband, from the prejudice of the community since the child was inside their womb. They sacrificed their life to be enslaved provided that their beloved had respectable education. Their love for their own child was obvious, but nobody else was able to show disaffection to theirs. If they did so, they would hurt the mothers. Their unfailing love was the source of strength to protect their off springs from troubles. 2.2 Husband and wife relationship 13 Husband and wife relationship was also a strong motive that led to the rebellion of women in the two novels. Being ignored, they tried to gain the love of the man of their life by cheating him with magical medicine, beautifying themselves to attract him, or even attempting to kill him. The call of love also made a smart, urban woman like Jadine to come back to Eloe, a typical place of blackness with old-fashioned values. It was for him that she struggled in New York to support his education. Those women were strongly motivated in maintaining their conjugal relationship. 2.3 Freedom and equality Women in those selected novels were found to search for freedom and equality within the context of oppressions and violence. Being women in a white-dominated society, they experienced double jeopardy. The white discriminated and men maltreated them at home and at work. They were considered to be dependent, marginalized group of the society. They also suffered from mental and physical violence. Those were the driving force that encouraged them to stand up to gain the equal status and liberty. 2.4 Self identity Women’s search for identity overwhelmed in both Song of Solomon and Tar Baby. The two typical women who resisted to find out the answer to “who am I?” were Pilate and Jadine. In the racist world of the novel, Pilate strived for her black root, dressing and leading the life in her own way, she was not affected by the modern invention such as gas, electricity, or telephone. Whereas Jadine made her effort to be black among the white, but to be herself among the 14 black. The toughness of life could not put out but inspired the fire to seek for self identity in those women. 3. In what manner do the women in the world portrayed in the novels express resistance to the different forms of violence? Women reacted differently in different context of violence, but the three most popular forms of resistance were found in the novels were acquiescence, non-violence and violence. On another perspective, resistance includes three other forms: verbal, physical and armed resistance. Ruth conformed with the pressure her husband put on her; Lena cried; Jadine quarreled; but Hagar revenged with weapons. Depending on the situation, each woman had their own choice of confrontation. 4. What are the implications of the themes pursued in the novels to the study of meaningful family life among Vietnamese students? By studying the selected works of Toni Morrison in great depth, the analysis shows that if Vietnamese students have an overall view of women’s oppressions such as racialism, inequality, domestic violence, so on so forth, especially from their own family, they will be able to realize the values of their present life, and make changes towards the future. Therefore, to acknowledge students the values of a meaningful family life and how to achieve it is a vitally important task of each educational institution. Family is the first school of individuals. It has great effects in forming the characteristics of each one. If family members fulfill their own responsibilities to their family, they perform well their duties to the society. 15 16 CHAPTER V SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION This chapter presents the summary, findings, conclusions and recommendations of the study. 5.1. Summary By employing qualitative method with philosophical and sociological approaches of literary criticism to analyze the content of two selected novels namely Song of Solomon and Tar Baby of Toni Morrison, the analysis has dealt with the following issues: the sufferings of black women in terms of racial oppression, gender inequality, emotional abandonment, and women’s sufferings; the sources of strengths and motive of women’s resistance as shown in the love between mother and children, husband and wife relationship, freedom and equality, and self-identity; and the manner how the women in the world portrayed in the novels express resistance to the different forms of violence. Likewise, the analysis shows the implications of the themes pursued in the novels to the study of meaningful family life among Vietnamese students. 5.2. Findings 1. The thesis shows that mostly, the black female characters in fiction experience humiliation and suffer an acute isolation in a white racist society that has marginalized them. They are considered outcast who do not enjoy any racial, gender privilege and are often silenced by hostile gaze of others. 17 2. To gain a meaningful life, Morrison's black female characters learn to craft significant identity by challenging all racial stereotypes. Black women have always resisted every sort of oppression; apparently they learn to wear the mask of conformity but this mask does not destroy this inner strength and power to resist. They have always pulled together their power of resistance, sometimes, by destroying the socalled established tradition and cultural norms and sometime by daring to do something which is forbidden in white patriarchal society. 3. The result of the study also indicate that oppressed women resisted and revolted in various ways, such as verbal, physical, and armed resistance. Other forms of resistance included violence, non-violence or acquiescence. Hartman’s subject-object theory clearly delineates the psychological rationality behind the relationship between oppression, resistance and revolt. Because these women were oppressed by being treated as objects, their actions were a way of expressing their individuality as agents or subjects of their actions. 4. It is the interest of this study to open up the gate of wisdom to the students to understand the destiny of African American women in the white patriarch society. By reviewing values through the tenets of literature by a black woman writer, they may realize that their present life is precious. That will change the way they think and behave, and foster students to hold campaigns and propaganda focusing on promoting the values of a meaningful family life, a life of prosperity, equality, happiness, progress, a life without prejudice and violence. 5.3. Conclusions Based on the findings, the following conclusions are drawn:
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