Toni Morrison's Beloved

874 Words2 Pages

Trauma: an emotional shock causing lasting and substantial damage to a person’s psychological development. Linda Krumholz in the African American Review claims the book Beloved by Toni Morrison aids the nation in the recovery from our traumatic history that is blemished with unfortunate occurrences like slavery and intolerance. While this grand effect may be true, one thing that is absolute is the lesson this book preaches. Morrison’s basic message she wanted the reader to recognize is that life happens, people get hurt, but to let the negative experiences overshadow the possibility of future good ones is not a good way to live. Morrison warns the reader that sooner or later you will have to choose between letting go of the past or it will forcibly overwhelm you. In order to cement to the reader the importance of accepting one’s personal history, Morrison uses the tale of former slave Sethe to show the danger of not only holding on to the past, but to also deny the existence and weight of the psychological trauma it poses to a person’s psyche. She does this by using characters and their actions to symbolize the past and acceptance of its existence and content.

While Beloved’s benevolent presence is clear, her purpose to heal Sethe is disguised in her chaotic persona. Before she even materialized, Beloved was trying to get Sethe to revive her history. Indeed, she had been haunting Sethe and her family for years; this is evident in the text when the narrator states “124 was spiteful. Full of a baby’s venom (Part 1-pg.3).” Even when she could not physically berate Sethe into reiterating the past, Beloved still tried to pressure her into doing what’s best for her. Once gaining her physical form, Beloved slowly broke down Sethe’s m...

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...orgiving yourself. Using characters and symbolizing events, Morrison enthralls the audience into her captivating story of Beloved. More importantly, however, she teaches the reader to realize the importance of recognizing that the past, no matter how terrible and ghastly, needs to be remembered, accepted and moved on from.

Works Cited

Krumholz, Linda. "The ghosts of slavery: Historical recovery

in Toni Morrisons Beloved." African American Review 26.3

(1992): 14p. Ebsco. Web. 14 May 2014

Jesser, Nancy. "Violence, Home, and Community in Toni

Morrison's "Beloved."." African American Review 33.2

(1999): 325-345. MasterFILE Premier... Web. 13 May


Washington, Teresa N. "The Mother-Daughter "Àjé"

Relationship in Toni Morrison's "Beloved." ." African

American Review 39.1/2 (2005): 171-188. EBSCO. Web. 13

May 2014.

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