Milk In Toni Morrison's Beloved

514 Words3 Pages
Toni Morrison presents her novel Beloved, chronicling a woman 's struggle in a post-slavery America. The novel contains several literary devices in order to properly convey its meaning and themes. Throughout the novel, symbolism is used heavily to imply certain themes and motifs. In Morrison 's Beloved, the symbol of milk is utilized in the novel in order to represent motherhood, shame, and nurturing, revealing the deprivation of identity and the dehumanization of slaves that slavery caused. At the beginning of the novel Morrison presents milk as a symbol for motherhood. As Sethe describes the happenings of Denver 's birth and her necessity to feed her child, Sethe 's connection to breast milk is evident. "All I knew was I had to get my milk to my baby girl. Nobody was going to nurse her like me (Morrison 10)". Morrison connects Sethe 's…show more content…
Throughout Beloved, milk becomes to symbolize the general sense of nurturing. When Sethe, Denver and Beloved got back to 124 from their cold trip to the woods," Sethe warmed a pan of milk and stirred cane syrup and vanilla into it. Wrapped in quilts and blankets before the cooking stove, they drank, wiped their noses, and drank again (Morrison 97)." The milk comforts the women after being out in the cold. Morrison uses milk in this instance to represent healing and nourishment, feeding the three women with a substance previously deprived of them. In this scene Sethe reclaims the nourishment she was and human generosity she was denied as a slave and reclaims her identity as mother while preparing milk for the two young women she wishes to care for. The symbol of milk is prominent throughout Morrison 's novel. The milk 's symbolism allows insight into the overall themes Morrison is trying to project. Whether it be through its symbolism of motherhood, shame, or nourishment, milk throughout the narrative reveals the ways in which African Americans were stripped of their personal identities as well as their identity as
Open Document