초록 close

This paper aims to re-think the absurdity of the discourse of patriarchal family system in Toni Morrison's Paradise. Toni Morrison's Paradise portrays the history of Ruby, the all-black town which tries to keep their blood purity, and the Convent women's lives who are denied by family-oriented society. Morrison's description of Ruby illustrates the negative implications of American exceptionalism, black nationalism, and racial purity, which constituted major American ideologies. Morrison's novel focuses on the unavoidable exclusiveness of American ideologies in Ruby by showing that Ruby rejects those who cannot fit in the rule of the town. Morrison also pinpoints the exceptionalistic discourse of black nationalism through the collapse of Ruby and criticizes the negative aspects of black nationalism which should have avoided the kind of injustice inflicted on by the Whites. In addition, she radically exposes the absurdity of pursing racial purity by highlighting its illusion. In short, Morrison criticizes the family, which is seen to symbolize emotional comfort and safety by the men of Ruby, is in fact a politically suppressive unit for its women. Therefore, if we view that Ruby represents American society and also African American society, Paradise's main there would be that a paradise cannot be achieved unless both exceptionalistic racist discourses and patriarchal family systems disappear. Morrison's critique of patriarchal family is also illustrated in the lives of the Convent women. Whereas the lives of Ruby women expose the absurd idealism of patriarchal family system, the lives of the Convent women illustrates the trauma of the suffering women who have been ostracized from patriarchal family-oriented society. However, Morrison also implies that these women cannot really escape from the family system but adapt themselves to a new patriarchal and oppressive relationship in the Convent. Ultimately, this failure to obtain comfort in the Convent emphasizes that women cannot be healed and empowered unless they refuse patriarchal family relationship and have an alternative community which suggests new relationship.