1. Beloved, the novel by African-American writer Toni Morrison is a collection of memories of the characters presented in the novel. Most characters in the novel are living with repressed painful memories and hence they are not able to move ahead in their lives and are somewhere stuck. The novel, in a way, becomes a guide for people with painful memories because it is in a way providing solutions to get rid of those memories and move ahead in life. The novel is divided into three parts; each part becomes a step in the healing ritual of painful repressed memories.
Names have always held power in literature; whether it is the defeated giant Polyphemus cursing Odysseus due to him pridefully announcing his name or how the true name of the Hebrew god was considered so potent that the word was forbidden. In fact, names were given power in tales dating all the way back to the 24th century B.C.E. when the goddess Isis became as strong as the sun god Ra after tricking him into revealing his true name. And in Toni Morrison’s Beloved, names have a much stronger cultural significance; and in the case of the character known as “Beloved”, her name is essentially her whole existence. Morrison shows the true power a name holds in African American literature through the character known as “Beloved”, as her role in the story becomes defined by the name she is given and changes in the final moments of the chapter.
Soren Kierkegaard once said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” In this quote, Kierkegaard speaks of the past and how dwelling in events that already happen will prevent a person of living their life in the present. Toni Morrison conveys this message in one of her major themes, showing that constantly wallowing in past memories will prevent characters to move on with their lives. Beloved portrays various sides of cruelty, showing it from a black slave’s point of view to even the owner’s point of view. Throughout the novel, the cruelty that characters experience, whether it be at Sweet Home or from the black community, show the victims’ struggle to move on from the past and the perpetrator’s awareness, or lack thereof, of their own cruel acts.
Surely, only an opposing, selfish, and insensitive person could send their wife and child away upon realizing that they both were mixed race. In Kate Chopin’s “Desiree’s Baby”, however, protagonist, Desiree, is altered over just a few days as she goes from being thankful from the happiness of her husband and baby into saddened and betrayed by her lover. The story eventfully shows how racism and denial both play a part in the way the future may turn out. From the time that the story begins, one can see that the love between Armand and Desiree is what they say to be a dream come true. It’s the love that everyone asks for.
In Beloved by Toni Morrison, the author often utilizes many different writing techniques to emphasize the story’s main idea that one cannot let past mistakes dictate one’s life and future. Morrison’s application of nonlinear exposition in Beloved helps convey the novel’s main theme by allowing the reader to witness Sethe’s journey to self-acceptance through her personal flashbacks and Paul D.’s point of view. From the beginning, the author incorporates a flashback to illustrate how Sethe is burdened with guilt from killing her baby daughter. Morrison makes it clear to the reader that Beloved is constantly on Sethe’s mind.
A key feminine quality for women in general around this time period was their capacity for being a mother. Throughout the story, Beloved is one of the many memories that haunts Sethe which she tries to repress in vain because she attempted to murder her own child in order to save them from the same physical, emotional, and sexual abuse that she endured during her time working at Sweet Home. However, Morrison depicts this as an act of kindness. Sethe 's character is given a connection to the audience for her motherly instincts, but also a way for the audience to reflect on the fact that her attempted murders were out of motherly love and protection. Placing Sethe in the scope of many women of the time who had lived without the harshness of slavery are forced to confront the weight of a decision that they never had to make nor most likely ever will.
Toni Morrison’s 1987 novel Beloved is a multiply narrated story of having to come to terms with the past to be able to move forward. Set after the Civil War in 1870s, the novel centers on the experiences of the family of Baby Suggs, Sethe, Denver, and Paul D and on how they try to confront their past with the arrival of Beloved. Two narrative perspectives are main, that of the third-person omniscient and of the third person limited, and there is also a perspective of the first-person. The novel’s narrators shift constantly and most of the times without notifying at all, and these narratives of limited perspectives of different characters help us understand the interiority, the sufferings and memories, of several different characters better and in their diversity.
Beloved places historical trauma at the center of American race relations and reveals two denials of historical trauma through unveiling the violence. The racist institutional power denied the violation of African American lives, and the black society refused to admit the truth of African American familial self-destruction and self-hatred. And so American racial trauma became submerged. Morrison ' s Beloved is a revelation of this trauma portrayed by apocalyptic events, such as infanticide.
Analysis of Toni Morrison's Beloved The book Beloved by Toni Morrison is a very interesting but peculiar book. The book flashes back from the present, past, and future, so often, you really have to pay attention or you will get lost. The book overviews slave's life, but goes into detail about one slave, Sethe. Toni Morrison, of Beloved creates a magic-realistic story based on the life of Margaret Garner, who escaped slavery just like the main character. Between Sethe and Beloved, there is always a dramatic situation occurring.
As the book ends Paul D returns, and finds Sethe laying down in Baby Sugg’s bed ready to die (70). Sethe cried out to Paul that she lost the most meaningful person in her life, Beloved (70). Paul D then hugged her as he told her she was the best thing to ever happen to him (70). Instead of Morrison writing about families being separated, she writes about them being sold as if they were livestock (71). Morrison chose to write about the African-American experiences during slavery (Heinze 127).
She was influenced by the ideologies of women’s liberation movements and she speaks as a Black woman in a world that still undervalues the voice of the Black woman. Her novels especially lend themselves to feminist readings because of the ways in which they challenge the cultural norms of gender, slavery, race, and class. In addition to that, Morrison novels discuss the experiences of the oppressed black minorities in isolated communities. The dominant white culture disables the development of healthy African-American women self image and also she pictures the harsh conditions of black women, without separating them from the oppressed situation of the whole minority. In fact, slavery is an ancient and heinous institution which had adverse effects on the sufferers at both the physical as well as psychological levels.
Afro-American women writers present how racism permeates the innermost recesses of the mind and heart of the blacks and affects even the most intimate human relationships. While depicting the corrosive impact of racism from social as well as psychological perspectives, they highlight the human cost black people have to pay in terms of their personal relationships, particularly the one between mother and daughter. Women novelists’ treatment of motherhood brings out black mothers’ pressures and challenges for survival and also reveals their different strategies and mechanisms to deal with these challenges. Along with this, the challenges black mothers have to face in dealing with their adolescent daughters, who suffer due to racism and are heavily influenced by the dominant value system, are also underlined by these writers. They portray how a black mother teaches her daughter to negotiate the hostile, wider world, and prepares her to face the problems and challenges boldly and confidently.
The psychological recovery of the protagonist Sethe happens due to the ritual of healing in the form of her “rememory” and confrontation with the repressed past. Morrison depicts in the novel both the psychological and physical pain of Sethe to overcome the unspeakable horrors of slavery conceptualised in the form of the ghost of her dead daughter Beloved. She fails to confront her past shredded with the crime of killing her own daughter to save her from slavery and the memory frequently haunts her in the form of a ghost since “anything dead coming back to life hurts” (Morrison, Beloved
Beloved by Toni Morrison is a prose written after American Civil war. Beloved was written in honor of Margaret Garner; a black slave who was able to run away from the life of hardship and slavery and moved to the free state of Ohio. The writer represented the life of Margaret in Seethe who was the main character of the novel Beloved. In the novel, Seethe escaped from the sweet home where she was slave and moved to Ohio with her daughters; Denver and beloved. Seethe and her children lived in Ohio for 25 days before the people from the sweet home slavery found her.
The primary thematic concern in most Morrison’s novels is the trauma of slavery and racial prejudices experienced by Afro- Americans. She uses language to retrieve the experience of Afro- American cultural traditions, and sense of identity. Language becomes a means by which the lives of African Americans history and culture are preserved. The Theory of Trauma argues that for its victims, denial of horrible events seems to be the easiest way out. It is also due to traumatic suffering that they do not speak of the occurrences and the ‘self’, itself that is subject to trauma, is kept