The Bondage and Subsequent Agency of Violet in Toni Morrison's Jazz

Melanie Marotta
In Toni Morrison's Jazz, the character Violet Trace has difficulty adapting to her life in the City (that is, Harlem) after she moves there from the South. This essay examines the influence of the urban space on the transformation of Violet's identity over the course of the novel, which occurs in three stages, each associated with her relationship to a key female character. The first stage occurs during Violet's journey to Harlem and is coloured by the death of Dorcas, her husband's lover. The
more » ... sband's lover. The second stage features Alice, Dorcas's aunt, who helps Violet to locate and process her pain. The final stage of Violet's transformation occurs under the influence of Felice, Dorcas's friend, who empowers Violet to release her past and reform her identity. Together, these women come to represent community for Violet and play a vital role in Violet's transformation and healing.