Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Toni Morrison's A Mercy. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
A Mercy: Context
A Mercy: Plot Summary
A Mercy: Detailed Summary & Analysis
A Mercy: Themes
A Mercy: Quotes
A Mercy: Characters
A Mercy: Symbols
A Mercy: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Toni Morrison
Historical Context of A Mercy
Other Books Related to A Mercy
- Full Title: A Mercy
- When Published: 2008
- Literary Period: Postmodernism, Contemporary African-American Literature
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Setting: 17th century colonial America
- Climax: Multiple: the Blacksmith leaving Florens after she hurts the child in his house, the final revelation of Florens’s mother’s motivation for telling Jacob to take Florens with him
- Antagonist: D’Ortega, slavery
- Point of View: Multiple (first person narrative of Florens and Florens’s mother, third person limited narratives from the perspectives of Jacob, Rebekka, Lina, Sorrow, and Willard and Scully)
Extra Credit for A Mercy
Name. Toni Morrison’s pen name is significantly different than her birth name. Morrison adopted her last name from her ex-husband, Harold Morrison. Her nickname, “Toni,” is the shortened version of her baptismal name, Anthony.
Nobel Prize. Morrison’s 1993 Nobel Prize win made her the first African-American to ever to earn the distinction. She was also the first American woman to win the award in 55 years.