Term of Award

Spring 2010

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Literature and Philosophy

Committee Chair

David L. Dudley

Committee Member 1

Joseph Pellegrino

Committee Member 2

Caren J. Town


This thesis uses Beloved, The Bluest Eye, Sula, and Song of Solomon to discuss Toni Morrison's presentation of women as biological and surrogate mothers and the relationships those mothers have to their children. These mother-child relationships take place in African American "villages" and each chapter displays the relationship between the community (village) and the biological and surrogate mothers. Beloved represents the ultimate biological mother and Song of Solomon represents the ultimate surrogate mother. The Bluest Eye shows negative surrogacy and Sula shows the positives and negatives of biological and surrogate motherhood. Considered together, the novels work to form a village and each of the four novels is a vital community member. Collectively, the novels show the strengths and weaknesses of community living. Toni Morrison creates an example of the African American village and the power of motherly influence in a child's life.

Research Data and Supplementary Material