“Altering the medium of presentation … alters the message, not only through technological advances, but by “closing” the text… . Whereas an “open” text, such as an oral narrative, is characterized by a dynamicism that allows cultural variation and nuance appropriate to time and location, the closed text remains constant… . In addition to neutralizing potentially offensive elements and refiguring the plot line to mesh with Disney specifications (Manichaean struggle between good and evil; narrative closure with hetero-normative coupling), the fact that the cartoons are fleshed out—given a voice, demeanor, and body—further limits potential interpretations of the text. Moral nuance, ambiguity, and personal interpretation are eliminated in favor of a clear, solid, universally palatable product. (66)”
“In the still heat of the Post-Reconstruction South, this is how they seemed to Jean Toomer: exquisite butterflies trapped in an evil honey, toiling away their lives in an era, a century, that did not acknowledge them, except as “the mule of the world.” They dreamed dreams that no one knew-not even themselves, in any coherent fashion-and saw visions no one could understand. They wandered or sat about the countryside crooning lullabies to ghosts, and drawing the mother of Christ in charcoal on courthouse walls.
They forced their minds to desert their bodies and their striving spirits sought to rise, like frail whirlwinds from the hard red clay. And when those frail whirlwinds fell, in scattered particles, upon the ground, no one mourned. Instead, men lit candies to celebrate the emptiness that remained, as people do who enter a beautiful but vacant space to resurrect a God.
Our mothers and grandmothers, some of them: moving to music not yet written. And they waited.
They waited for a day when the unknown thing that was in them would be made known; but guessed, somehow in their darkness, that on the day of their revelation they would be long dead. Therefore to Toomer they walked, and even ran, in slow motion. For they were going nowhere immediate, and the future was not yet within their grasp. And men took our mothers and grandmothers, “but got no pleasure from it.” So complex was their passion and their calm.”
“You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.”