Female Gothic: A Study of Oppression in 'Beloved'

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In his essay “Gothic and the New american Republic”, Jeffrey A. Weinstock explains that Charles Brockden Brown developed a subgenre of the Gothic called ‘the female Gothic’ that dramatizes women’s disempowerment, is the mode that highlights the forces of explicit and implicit violence used against women to coerce their submission, and critiques female oppression (34). This theme is played out with Sethe from Beloved who is a woman portrayed as a helpless female victim who is victimized by men and her society and does that relate to her African American experience. In Beloved, Sethe tells the gruesome story of how she got the scars on her back. She describes two boys violating her by taking her breast milk against her will. Sethe said that …show more content…

Generally speaking, their experiences and histories are definitely very different from White Americans whose families can be traced back generations to the first immigrants from Europe or maybe Founding Fathers of our country. Although everyone has pieces of their past they don’t like to think about, African Americans have certainly been placed under much oppression in America. As slaves they weren’t respected; when emancipated they weren’t seen as equals; and even today racism toward black people in America is unfortunately more present than we’d like to admit. Like Sethe, many people try to shut out their bad past experiences, but sometimes this method can only make the internal being more frustrated and depressed. Throughout Beloved, Morrison chooses to insert cultural aspects of African-American life in America. By doing this, she not only connects the reader with her characters like Sethe and Beloved, but also gives a clear understanding and depiction of their unique experiences. I think Sethe has gained a lot of insight and “street-smarts,” per se, due to her traumatic and poignant past. The inclusion of this harmful culture that Sethe endured at Sweet Home, parallels many African-Americans’ experiences living as an enslaved

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