Migration Theories and Mental Health in Toni Morrison's Jazz

Leila Tafreshi Motalgh, Wan Roselezam Wan Yahya


This article aims to elaborate the relationship between migration and mental health problems that are evident in migrant women in Toni Morrison's Jazz (1992). To this end, pre-migration, migration and post-migration stress factors are identified in the novel based on Danish Bhugra's theory of migration. It seems that pre-migration stress factors and traumas are associated with the push theory of migration, while post-migration stresses are associated with the pull theory of migration. Despite post-migration stresses, the main female characters who encounter pre-migration stress factors and traumas are more likely to develop mental health problems like Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Although there is extensive literary criticism of Jazz (1992), no theoretical criticism exists that simultaneously covers migration theories and the mental health problems evident in Toni Morrison's female characters. It is worth highlighting that gender is a variable that correlates positively with migration and mental health. This article attempts to fill a gap in literary criticism and contribute to the body of research on mental health problems associated with gender and migration.

Keywords: Push-Pull Theory, Great Migration, Black Studies, Gender, Trauma, PTSD

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