Motheral Perspective In Toni Morrison's Beloved (1987)

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The following chapter analyses the description of mothering experience told from the maternal perspective in Toni Morrison’s Beloved (1987) and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin (2003). Despite their different socio-cultural and historical frameworks, these two novels are significant in the context of this dissertation because of the way in which they introduce the maternal perspective on mother-child relationship, which has predominantly been overshadowed in literature by the daughters’ totalising viewpoint. The first part of the chapter examines the representation of black motherhood through Sethe’s character, an enslaved woman who decides to kill her children instead of condemning them to a life of slavery. The second part discusses Eva’s perception of the gap between culturally-constructed expectations about mothering and reality from the perspective of a middle-class independent woman. The aim of the chapter will be to examine the two characters’ different conception of motherhood and to identify analogies and differences in their performance of the maternal role.

3.1 Motherhood as Freedom to Love: Toni Morrison’s Beloved (1987)
In Beloved (1987), Toni Morrison represents the destructive force of maternal love through Sethe, an enslaved mother of four who commits infanticide to prevent her children from becoming themselves victims of the slave system. Her violent act prevents her former slave owners, referred to as ‘schoolteacher’, from taking her family

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