Broken Women in Paradise

Essay by RootbeerUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, May 2004

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Broken Women in Paradise

Toni Morrison's Paradise reveals a portrait of four broken women - Mavis, Grace, Seneca, and Pallas. These women come to the Convent looking for something; however, none of them are aware of what it is they are searching for until it happens to them. All the women have been hurt by their past and they go to the Convent, mostly by accident, looking for help. At the Convent they receive the help they have been looking for, freedom from the past that haunts each woman.

The women arrive at the Convent one at a time between 1968 and 1976 and Mavis is the first. Her story begins as she is running away from an abusive husband, dead babies, plotting children, and an intolerant mother. Her husband, Frank, is an alcoholic. He abused and raped her so much she reverted back to a child-like state being unable to care for herself.

She was also running away from the recent death of her twin daughters who had suffocated in a car while she was buying food for supper. The twins were not her only children; she also had Sal, Billie James, and Frankie. Mavis was convinced that her children, particularly Sal, were going to attempt to kill her at her husband's orders. At dinner the night after Mavis was interviewed for the paper about her dead twins, Sal has a shaving razor at the table; Mavis was convinced they were going to kill her. "She didn't think it would take them long, and seeing how they were at supper, enjoying each other's jokes and all, she knew Frank would let the children do it." (25). Once Mavis escaped her home and stole her husband's car - which was his pride and joy - she ran to her...