Beloved by Toni Morrison is a vivid picture of the cruelty of slavery. It is a novel that depicts the horrifying practicies of enslavement in the early Nineteenth Century in the United States of America.
Extracts from this essay...
Beloved by Toni Morrison Sethe , a Slave to Her Past Beloved by Toni Morrison is a vivid picture of the cruelty of slavery. It is a novel that depicts the horrifying practicies of enslavement in the early Nineteenth Century in the United States of America. It is a depiction of the horrible conditions under slavery and the dehumanization suffered by human beings when they are owned by other human beings. Beloved is a story of a black woman's struggle to overcome her past memories which are bounded with torture, such memories didn't only ruin her past ; but also spoilt her present life . America during the Ninteenth was a place where all privilages were given to the white people , black people were brought from Africa by ships to cultivate lands and be slaves to the whites. That's why Morrison chooses Sethe as a character representative of a whole generation suffered from the set backs of slavery and of being blacks brought to a community where all rights are given to whites and no others. In 1873 slavery was abolished in Cincinnati, Ohio for ten years. This is the setting where Morrison places the characters for her powerfully moving novel, Beloved. After the Emancipation Proclamation and after the Civil War , Sethe the mother who murdered her child in order to protect her from a lifetime of humiliation has yet to know the real meaning of freedom. The novel starts with Sethe's life at 124, the house which is haunted by her murdered daughter's ghost.
suggested of leaving the house , as for Paul D. , he dislikes the way Seth's breasts laying flat on her and is also repulsed by the clump of scars on her back which he refused to regard as a chokecherry tree as she describes them. The past memories overpowered the characters' minds and affected directly and indirectly their lives; this justifies when Beloved's ghost firstly appears to Sethe as a human, she was in the form of a full grown woman and not a baby as she died, but at the age where she would be if she had lived. This form is consistent with Sethe's ideas about the past. Although the baby died, it continued to grow and change as if has lived and its presence is totally real. This confirms the main stream of the novel -Sethe's inability to dump her awful memories. Sethe's perception of the past comes from her own painful relationship with the legacy of slavery. She is still convinced that the past could hurt that is why she could not overcome this dreadful feeling whenever she remembers the schoolteacher. She still remembers how they stole her milk and she kept on narrating this incident numerously whether to Paul D or to Beloved. She even repeated the story in her mind so that Beloved might overhear it and believe that the mother feels guilty for what she did to her. These memories and more devastated Sethe's life all over and enslaved her soul.
Her name is ours; her legacy is one that we share and must confront. Toni Morrison has successfully introduced a novel that depicts a real and genuine picture of slavery during the Nineteenth Century especially to those who have not lived during that period and who have not witnessed the practices of whites in the United States to the black people who were brought from Africa to serve them. Critics views to this novel varied, for instance in a criticism by Jennifer L. Holden-Kirwan she said: "While Morrison, like Sethe and Paul D., would prefer to repress the memory of slavery, she feels compelled to create a space in which the 'enslaved' may finally speak. As Elizabeth Abel has pointed out, 'Beloved deliberately represents captive persons as subjects rather than objects of oppression, and does so primarily in a discourse on the hunger, passion, and violence generated in the 'too thick' mother-daughter bond produced by the conditions of slavery". While the end of slavery sought to transform objects (slaves) into subjects (free men and women), the characters in Beloved find the passage into subjectivity somewhat elusive." Another comment on the novel is published in Los Angeles Times by John Leonard : "She escaped from slavery but was haunted by its heritage - from the fires of the flesh to the heartbreakiing challenges to the spirit . Set in rural Ohio several years after the Civil War, this profoundly affecting ... of slavey and its aftermath is Toni Morrison's beastest novel- a dazzling achievemnet and a spellbinding experience." ?? ?? ?? ?? 1
Found what you're looking for?
- Start learning 29% faster today
- Over 150,000 essays available
- Just £6.99 a month
- Over 180,000 student essays
- Every subject and level covered
- Thousands of essays marked by teachers