The Effects Of Rape And Sexual Assault In Beloved By Toni Morrison

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Slaves faced extreme brutality and Morrison focuses on rape and sexual assault as the most terrifying form of abuse. It is because of this abuse that Morrison’s characters are trapped in their pasts, unable to move on from the psychological damages that they have endured. “Morrison revises the conventional slave narrative by insisting on the primacy of sexual assault over other experiences of brutality” (Barnett 420).

For telling Mrs. Garner what they had done, she was badly beaten by them, leaving a “chokecherry tree” (16) on her back. But that was not the overriding issue. It was “And they took my milk”(17). Her milk taken from her is essential for the premise of Beloved.

Later schoolteacher discovers that Sethe told Mrs. Garner about this incident. He orders his nephews to whip Sethe. The whipping of Sethe opens the skin of her back. “Schoolteacher’s nephew represents a dismissal by whites of the dehumanizing qualities of slavery”. When Sethe is raped, schoolteacher observed how her body is exploited. The scars on Sethe’s back are so many that they resemble the trunk of a tree with its branches. Sethe bear scars on her back because she was whipped due to her try of escape. Amy Denver, a white girl that helped Sethe when she was running away from Sweet Home, calls the tree a chokecherry tree. The tree image indicates that she has been wiped so much that the scar looks like a tree with its crowded branches. “But that’s what she said it looked like. A chokecherry tree.

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