Tar Baby, published in 1981, is a novel by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison. The book tells the story of Jadine Childs, a young African American fashion model from Philadelphia, and Son, a mysterious man who is hiding on a Caribbean island owned by a wealthy white family. Tar Baby explores themes of race, class, and gender, and it is often read as a critique of the white gaze (the assumption that the perspective of someone who identifies as white is the default point of view) and the ways in which it shapes and distorts Black identity. Explore a plot summary, an in-depth analysis of Jadine Childs, and important quotes.


Read our full plot summary and analysis of Tar Baby, chapter by chapter break-downs, and more.


See a complete list of the characters in Tar Baby and in-depth analyses of Jadine Childs, Son, and Valerian Street.

Literary Devices

Here's where you'll find analysis of the literary devices in Tar Baby, from the major themes to motifs, symbols, and more.


Find the quotes you need to support your essay, or refresh your memory of Tar Baby by reading these key quotes.

Quick Quizzes

Test your knowledge of Tar Baby with a quiz about the entire novel.


Get ready to ace your Tar Baby paper with our suggested essay topics and mini essays.

Further Study

Go further in your study of Tar Baby with background information and links to the best resources around the web.


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