Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Toni Morrisson and the translation of history in Margaret Garner

Leon James Bynum


This article probes how Toni Morrison translates biographical history in Margaret Garner in relation to Black women’s self-determination. Margaret Garner was regarded with both reproach and reverence for murdering her two-year-old daughter to prevent the child from being returned to slavery after they escaped in 1856. Writing the 2005 opera Margaret Garner, Morrison made a number of changes to the historical narrative of the eponymous heroine. The focus of her translation is not on presenting an accurate recountal of history; rather, the goal is to redress the limitations placed on Black women’s self-determination by granting them agency through this interpretation of Garner

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