RACIAL TOTAL INSTITUTIONS

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The black communities that appear in Toni Morrison’s Sula (1973) and Love (2003) reflect historical accounts of early black communities and manifest characteristics of Total Institution. Although each novel depicts a unique black community, the Ohio community in Sula and the resort area in Love, both of these communities reflect the concept of Total Institution. The novels suggest that segregation and forced isolation contribute to the cohesion and vitality of these communities. After segregation becomes illegal, these communities falter and, ultimately, fail.

In depicting these Total Institution all black communities and showing how they meet their demise during and after the Civil Rights Movement, these novels question the seemingly positive effects of integration and equality. If integration caused the breakdown of communities that thrived when blacks were oppressed, what might such communities have accomplished if their members had not become involved in national political activism? Such speculation gives new life to the arguments which question whether blacks benefited or were put at a disadvantage by the fight for integration.