In the story A Mercy by Toni Morrison, a life of people deprived of their roots is described. The novel depicts Lina, a Native American, Florens, a slave, the farm owner Vaark and his wife Rebekkah who embody the premise of the new American identity. All the characters strive to adjust to a new setting filled with disease and danger.
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As a result, the author introduces the early period of the development of American society, the times when there was no civilization. Presenting a primitive world, Morrison separates racism from slavery and develops a journey of the heroes toward self-determinism. Nature and animal imagery are powerful stylistic and allegorical tools that allow the author to identify heroes with their searching for cultural origins.
Lina, one of the heroines in the novel, identifies herself with nature to overcome her status of being an orphan. Like other characters in the narrative, she strives to obtain the sense of belonging. The natural environment surrounding her is a challenge for her, as well as an opportunity to fulfill herself as a personality.
Together with Florens, Lina starts a spiritual journey to self-identity that can release and enhance her belonging to nature. In addition, the author presents Florens as the heroine telling in a first-person to emphasize her spiritual connection to nature. The first-person narrative, therefore, can be connected with her natural incarnation stemming from the angle of ‘omniscience’.
In the story, the author introduces Florens on behave of nature, a primitive period of America’s development, as well as the first steps of the formation of America’s individuality.
Using nature as an important background for the upcoming events in the early period of the New World, the author touches on the issues of racism and its separation from slavery. In this respect, Morrison emphasizes the importance of the natural world in shaping the labor relationship between people.
In this respect, land is depicted to highlight the connection of heroes to different cultural and ethnic realms. The natural environment links heroes to their existence, just like Florens and Sorrows, who are seen as representatives of African ethnicity, Jacob Vaark, the descendant of the European newcomers, and Lina, a Native American who survived from smallpox plague. All these characters are willing to conquer the New World in the hope to recreate the domicile in the New Paradise.
The allegorical representation of various ethnicities and their identification with natural world is also perceived as a new step toward the development of a new society. Although Morrison focuses on the issues of racism, she does not approach it as an officially recognized term that is not coupled with slavery. Rather, she resorts to the genuine origins of humankind to specify that all people are equal in front of nature.
In conclusion, the novel A Mercy is a multifaceted presentation of the heroes’ searching for identity and self-determination. Deprived of their roots, the main characters are linked to land and natural environment that allows them to strengthen their connection to the cultural and ethnical heritage.
Although both Lina and Florens are vulnerable to surrounding social and natural settings, they are ready to set out their spiritual journey and change their lives for the better. In this respect, the author insists that applying to natural imagery explains the heroes’ intensions in the most relevant way.