Summary Of Slavery In Toni Morrison's Beloved

1316 Words6 Pages
Jessica Makhol
Mrs. Augustine
AP Literature
15 February 2018 Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved, is a historically based fiction piece about a mother who attempts to kill all of her children to keep them free from the institution of slavery. Many critics question whether or not Morrison’s novel is historically accurate in recounting the unfortunate events of slavery. However, Beloved is a clear representation of what could possibly lead a mother to murdering her own child. Although events that occurred through the institution of slavery are difficult to accept as reality, Morrison did not exaggerate the cruelties of slavery in her novel. In Morrison’s novel, the protagonist is a woman, whom is a former slave that endured abuse on the Sweet Home plantation, named Sethe. The majority of the plot revolves around Sethe and the conflicts she currently faces due to her past as a slave. A key event that occurred in Beloved was when Sethe was beat by two boys in a barn at her former plantation. At this time, she was pregnant and the boys robbed her of her breast milk and sexually assaulted her. In the novel, a conversation occurs between Sethe and a man named Paul D where she admits to being assaulted in the barn and emphasizes how “they took [her] milk” (Morrison 20). This event strongly affected Sethe because she needed her breast milk for her baby and that was one of the few things she actually owned. As an African American woman, Sethe is even more vulnerable than a male slave.
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