Reflections on Toni Morrison’s A Mercy

Bluestockings Magazine

Toni Morrison’s A Mercy, published in 2008, is a novel set in 17th century colonial America and is ostensibly about a time in which slavery was not inextricably linked to race. The story is told partially through the first person narration of Florens, a Black, sixteen year old, female slave who has been painfully, abruptly, unforgivably separated from her mother and sold into a household bereft of roots and struggling to survive.


Through Florens, Morrison explores the topics of  forced parental abandonment, the search for an identity in a society that tells a Black girl that she cannot create one, the experience of a first love that is powerful, intoxicating, and all-consuming, disillusionment with religion, and the search for sisterhood. I love Florens, I know Florens, I am Florens. Morrison achieved the wondrous feat of creating a convincing, poetic 17th century experience that rang true to a woman-girl reading…

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