Universal Themes in Toni Morrison’s Beloved

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In Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved, Morrison uses universal themes and characters that anyone can relate to today. Set in the 1800s, Beloved is about the destructive effects of American slavery. Most destructive in the novel, however, is the impact of slavery on the human soul. Morrison’s Beloved highlights how slavery contributes to the destruction of one’s identity by examining the importance of community solidarity, as well as the powers and limits of language during the 1860s. This novel illustrates the power and importance of community solidarity. For example, Sethe receives help from members of the Underground Railroad to exorcise Beloved’s ghost. Morrison writes, “Some brought what they could and what they believed would work. Stuffed in apron pockets, strung around their necks, lying in the space between their breasts. Others brought Christian faith--as shield and sword. Most brought a little of both” (303). The town bands together against the ghost. Critics discuss many examples about the universality of community solidarity in Beloved. Wahneema Lubiano writes, “This novel is, finally, a text about the community as a site of complications that empowers, as much as its social history within the larger formation debilitates, its members.” This statement relates well to the fact that the community binds together to fight the ghost. Another example of a character who illustrates community solidarity is Paul D. Paul’s community at the time was the group of men when he was in prison. They all depended on each other to survive. Morrison writes to show this, “‘The successful ones--the ones who had been there enough years to have maimed, mutilated, maybe even buried her--kept watch over the others who were still in her cock-teasi... ... middle of paper ... ...er's Sons, 1991. 317-338. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 24 Oct. 2013. Gomez, Sandra. "Community and relationships ." The Beloved Guide. N.p., 11 10 2008. Web. 14 Dec. 2013. . Khaleghi, Mahboobeh. "The ghost of slavery: individual and communal identity in Toni Morrison's Beloved." Language In India Feb. 2012: 472+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 24 Oct. 2013. Lubiano, Wahneema. "Morrison, Toni (1931– )." African American Writers. Ed. Valerie Smith. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2001. 581-597. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 24 Oct. 2013. Morrison, Toni. Beloved. New York: Knopf, 1987. Print. Vickroy, Laurie. "The Force outside/the force inside: mother-love and regenerative spaces in Sula and Beloved." Obsidian II 8.2 (1993): 28+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 16 Dec. 2013.

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