Procedures:                                                                                                                Print Questions: .docx / .doc


1) Read the novel excerpts and the related texts together in groups or as a class

2) Clarify meaning in groups or as a class. Student/Teacher reads. Student summarizes

3) In pairs or in groups, discuss the textual content and quotations

4) In pairs or in groups, discuss the conversation questions (include your own questions)

5) As a class, take turns using the conversation questions to expand your ideas

Novels 104 ~ Jazz ~ Toni Morrison ~

Courtesy of  Sparknotes


Anything that happens after this party breaks up is nothing. Everything is now. It's like war. Everyone is handsome, shining just thinking about other people's blood. As though the red wash flying from veins not theirs is facial makeup patented for its glow. Inspiriting. Glamorous. Afterward there will be some chatter and recapitulation of what went on; nothing though like the action itself and the beat that pumps the heart. In war or at a party everyone is wily, intriguing; goals are set and altered; alliances rearranged.

-Toni Morrison, Jazz

What was I thinking of? How could I have imagined him so poorly? Not noticed the hurt that was not linked to the color of his skin, or the blood that beat beneath it. But to some other thing that longed for authenticity, for a right to be in this place, effortlessly without needing to acquire a false face, a laughless grin, a talking posture. I have been careless and stupid and it infuriates me to discover (again) how unreliable I am.

-Toni Morrison, Jazz


I'm crazy about this City. Daylight slants like a razor cutting the buildings in half. In the top half I see looking faces and it's not easy to tell which are people, which the work of stonemasons. Below is shadow were any blasé thing takes place: clarinets and lovemaking, fists and the voices of sorrowful women. A city like this one makes me dream tall and feel in on things. Hep. It's the bright steel rocking above the shade below that does it.

-Toni Morrison, Jazz


Songs that used to start in the head and fill the heart had dropped on down, down to places below the sash and the buckled belts. Lower and lower, until the music was so lowdown you had to shut your windows and just suffer the summer sweat when the men in shirtsleeves propped themselves on window frames, or clustered on rooftops, in alleyways, on stoops and in the apartments of relatives playing the lowdown stuff that signaled Imminent Demise.

-Toni Morrison, Jazz


But I can't say that aloud; I can't tell anyone that I have been waiting for this all my life and that being chosen to wait is the reason I can. If I were able I'd say it. Say make me, remake me. You are free to do it and I am free to let you because look, look. Look where your hands are. Now.

-Toni Morrison, Jazz



Click here for Author¡¯s Biography, Plot Overview, and Explanation of Quotes courtesy of Sparknotes


~ General Conversation Questions ~


Group A


1) What is the difference between a theme, a motif, and a symbol. Click here for details.

2) In this work, red-winged birds are symbols of freedom. Describe a symbol related to your community.

3) One motif used is migration within a country. Tell about someone who has moved from their hometown.

4) Orphans are another motif. Are there many in your community/country? Explain their difficulties.

5) A third motif is music. How has music evolved over the years in your country? Does it affect culture?


Group B


1) Violence is a main theme in this work. How can violence be passed across generations? Explain.

2) Racial violence is a related theme. Has your country ever faced such history. How can it affect culture?

3) Motherhood is another main theme. What are the various roles of mothers in your country? Describe.

4) The notion of a ¡°motherland¡± is related. How important is this notion to the people in your country?

5) Talk about the notion of ¡°race¡±. What is it? Does it really exist? What is a ¡°social construct¡±?


Challenge: Make your own follow-up questions and discuss them.




                                                                                              © COPYRIGHT The Language Works and its licensors 2006 ~ 2016. All rights reserved.

~ TLW ~ Readers Club ~ Novels for Discussion ~