Questions of Conjure: An Examination of Feminist, Philosophical, and Sociological Implications of the Use of Rootwork in SULA

Christy Baker
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In my paper, titled “A Feminist, Philosophical, and Sociological Examination of the Use of Conjure in SULA,” I explore how Toni Morrison’s use of conjure raises cosmic questions of good and evil and proves to be a source of empowerment for some of the female characters in the novel. Conjure determines how the people in Morrison’s fictional world treat each other and themselves, and in so doing, exposes religious hypocrisy that contributes to the often-hostile environment in which Sula finds herself living.

Keywords: Toni Morrison, Folklore, SULA, Rootwork, Hoodoo
Stream: Arts Agendas
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Questions of Conjure

Christy Baker

Lecturer, English Department, East Carolina University
Greenville, NC, USA

I hold a BS and MA in English from East Carolina University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. For the past six years I have taught composition and literature classes at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, where I was born and have lived for most of my life. My critical essays and poetry have been published in such journals as NORTH CAROLINA LITERARY REVIEW, PITKIN CRITICAL ARTS REVIEW, and MAINSTREET RAG. I have recently completed my first novel, WHEN THE OWLS CRY, about eighteen-year-old Luma Kane's journey from her North Carolina home to San Francisco following the tragic accident she causes that kills three strangers and unlocks Luma’s repressed memories of her mama’s suicide and her daddy’s abandonment. Ultimately, Luma must decide whether to keep running from her past, or return home, to the unconditional love of her grandmother Margaret, and finally quiet the crying owls her great-granddaddy Jesse says foreshadowed the deaths that haunt Luma. As my novel synopsis suggests, I am interested in USA Southern folklore. I am also interested in film and pop music -- both, in various ways, are significant motifs in my novel.

Ref: A06P0558