Supernatural in Toni Morrison's Beloved

analytical Essay
900 words
900 words

The Supernatural in Beloved

One aspect in the novel Beloved is the presence of a supernatural theme. The novel is haunted. The characters are haunted by the past, the choices made, by tree branches growing on backs, by infanticide, by slavery. Sethe, Denver and Paul D are haunted by the past that stretches and grasps them in 124 in its extended digits. A haunt, Beloved, encompasses another supernatural realm, that of a vampire. She sucks the soul, heart and mind of her mother while draining the relationships that exists between Denver and Sethe and Sethe and Paul D.

Sethe is the most dramatically haunted in the book. She is the one who was beaten so badly her back is permanently scarred. She is the one who lived and escaped slavery. She is the one who murdered her child rather than return it to slavery. So she is the one whose past is so horrible that it is inescapable. How can a person escape the past when it is physically apart of them? Sethe has scars left from being whipped that she calls a "tree". She describes it as "A chokecherry tree. Trunk, branches, and even leaves. Tiny little chokecherry leaves. But that was eighteen years ago. Could have cherries too now for all I know" (16). It is apt that her past is represented on her back--something that is behind her, something she cannot see but knows that is there. Also it appeared eighteen years ago, but Sethe thinks that it may have grown cherries in those years. Therefore she knows that the past has attached itself to her but the haunting of it has not stopped growing. Paul D. enters Sethe's life and discover a haunting of Sethe almost immediately. He walks into 124 and notices the spirit of the murdered baby: "It was sad. Walking through it, a wave of grief soaked him so thoroughly he wanted to cry" (9). The haunting by Beloved in its spirit form is stopped by Paul D. He screams "God damn it! Hush up! Leave the place alone! Get the Hell out!" (18). But Sethe's infant daughter is her greatest haunt and it is when Beloved arrives in physical form that Sethe is forced to turn around and confront the past.

Beloved is the manifestation of a murdered two-year old in a 20-year old body. Her mind and actions speak as a child not an adult.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how the supernatural theme of beloved is present in the novel. sethe, denver, and paul d's past haunts them, while a vampire sucks the soul, heart and mind of their mother.
  • Analyzes how sethe is the most haunted in the book. she was beaten so badly her back is permanently scarred, and murdered her child rather than return it to slavery.
  • Analyzes how beloved is the manifestation of a murdered two-year-old, who loves her mother and is jealous of her relationship with denver.
  • Analyzes how the reversal of power from sethe to beloved is when the vampiric nature of motherhood is amplified.
  • Analyzes how the haunting of 124 is haunted by the memories of the experience of reading it. everyone grapples with their demons. slavery may seem like a distant evil.
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