Beloved as a Folk Tale

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Beloved as a Folk Tale

In the novel Beloved, Toni Morrison takes an unorthodox approach to the book. She uses many characteristics of a folk tale to tell the story. The ghosts play a major part in the folklore of the book. These components such as the caring community and nicknames play an integral part in the book. The folk tale is when the past experiences are brought to the present and confronted in many different ways, leading to a sort of awakening for the character. One of the characteristics is the existence in a world of fragmentation. Morrison was able to achieve this feeling by writing the book this way. “When Slavery has torn apart one’s heritage, when past is more real than present, when the rage of a dead baby can literally rock a house, then the traditional novel is no longer an adequate instrument”.

One of the main characteristics is surviving and coping with the past. This is best illustrated in the book by the ghost living in 124 and eventually Beloved. The past actually returns in the form of Paul D. The ghost reminds Sethe of past tragedies. The ghost serves as a reminder for some of the decisions Sethe was forced to make. It constantly makes her think about the decisions she made when she was younger and whether she made the right choices. These thoughts constantly haunt her and keeps 124 the miserable place that it is. Sethe is forced to confront these nightmarish memories when Beloved returns. She starts to feel and finally relive her past with Beloved’s help. By reliving so many memories so quickly she is almost shattered by it until the community comes to her rescue. Sweet Home is one of the things that Sethe must encounter.

The ghost in 124 plays a major part in the folklore of the book. The ghost seems to be reincarnated as the devil in the form of Beloved, which the women of the town come to face. The devil was born into the spirit of Sethe’s daughter when she is killed in the barn. “Sethe realizes that the death of the body is not the death of the soul”. Schoolteacher, whom Sethe and Paul D view as the devil, causes this. They view Sweet Home as a nice place to live until Mr.
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