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The demands made on the reader to accept the supernatural elements of Beloved undermine the effectiveness of the whole novel Do you agree?

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"The demands made on the reader to accept the supernatural elements of Beloved undermine the effectiveness of the whole novel" Do you agree? Toni Morrison enhances the novel Beloved by bestowing it with a supernatural dimension. Many readers may feel that the effect of slavery is diminished due to the supernatural element in the novel. It could allow the reader to perceive that the story is not factual and therefore the appalling effects of slavery are not actually real. Many supernatural events in the novel, such as the presence of a ghost, push the limits of ordinary understanding, however they do permit the reader to accept them as well as the consequences of slavery, just as the characters in Beloved do not hesitate to believe in the supernatural status of these events, but know from experience how damaging slavery is. From the start of the novel, Toni Morrison combines the supernatural with the tangible and the everyday. Although alienating some readers by its initial incomprehensive narrative, the handling of the supernatural in conjunction with a highly realist, distressing depiction of slavery allows the reader to start an emotional journey into the novel. Angel Flores states that it is "An amalgamation of realism and fantasy."1 Morrison presents to us a ghost alongside the descriptions of a house, a street and a family. ...read more.


This supernatural element to Beloved gives the reader first hand insight into the tragedies that took place on the ship and rather then undermine the effectiveness of the novel it actually enhances it. Baby Suggs is dead within the present story of the novel, however she is still of great importance. Not only is she compared with Jesus Christ "Loaves and fishes were His powers", she is also able to 'feel' a "dark and coming thing" which we discover is the coming of the four horsemen-a reference to the apocalypse found in the Book of Revelations. Baby Suggs has a link with nature and calls to the community of ex-slaves to give them hope and to help them recognise the beauty in themselves. She provides a nurturing and healing presence for those scarred by slavery, including Sethe. This supernatural element in the novel is not questioned by the reader but is accepted readily and proves to be an effective element in the plot. She is seen as a wise woman who has survived slavery, and after her death her words and attitudes linger in the minds of those who loved her. The supernatural element of Baby Suggs is integral to the plot as it not only gives Sethe comfort when she finds herself struggling to cope with the horrors of the past but she also gives Denver the courage to leave the house and seek help, which she gains from the community because of her connection to Baby Suggs. ...read more.


haunting of the occupants inside it, the reader of the novel is haunted by the memories of the experience of reading it. Beyond the supernatural that most people would reject to believe in, the true hauntings that happen to people are very real. The reader can see that although the supernatural element in the novel does give a different kind of twist to the storyline, is also aids in showing the disastrous affects of slavery and how it effects generations afterwards. At first the supernatural being in the novel keeps the reader reserved, but when the plot deepens the reader can see how the affect of Beloved is an essential part of the theme of slavery as she represents all the desperation and pain that was only a small part of a huge injustice. Slavery from history books shows the facts of how the Africans came to be slaves and the things they were subjected to, but unlike Beloved, they do not demonstrate how it influences the way people feel and consequently how they commit such atrocious acts such as infanticide. 1 Flores, Angel -" Magical Realism in Spanish American Fiction." Magical Realism:Theory, History, Community. 2Furman, Jan - Remembering the Disremembered (1996) page 109 3 Mardberg, Maria - 'Envisioning American Women: The Roads to Communal identity in Novels by Women of Color' (1998) 4 Gray, Laura - Advanced York Notes ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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