Essay on Memory's Ghost in Beloved

Essay on Memory's Ghost in Beloved

Length: 1572 words (4.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Memory’s Ghost in Beloved
“A moment lasts all of a second, but the memory lasts forever”- Anonymous
In Toni Morrison’s Beloved, the concept of memory is so intertwined with the novel that it is becomes a character; like any character it has impulses, it breaths, it moves, it pushes action forward, and it prevents it; if repressed it sometimes fights; it gives life, and attempts to take it away. Memory and identity are inseparable and interchangeable; what happened in the past becomes not only a part of you; it is you; in the same light it is also possible to identify a strongly felt emotion with a previous memory; a memory of how you felt during a traumatic situation that is played over your daily life, almost like a sensory soundtrack, it becomes almost like a dual self, existing in the same time and the same place. In this essay I will be looking at the effects that memory takes in this novel, how it affects the characters of Baby Suggs, Sethe, Denver, and Paul D., and how memory can both take and give freedom.
Sethe is a woman trapped in a private prison; although seemingly independent and strong, she remains tethered to her past, almost like an invisible umbilical cord; she is bound to the memory of her dead daughter, Beloved, the one whom she murdered. In the beginning of the novel, Sethe’s existence is an empty shell; she’s impaired in a way both mentally and emotionally by her experience at Sweet Home, and her nameless dead daughter, yet she still manages to cope, or rather suppress her memories. Sethe’s daily life compared to her recalled life at Sweet Home presents a dual existence; she attempts to live in the present, but the challenge of attempting to do so introduces a problem; in the novel, Sethe brings up an ana...


... middle of paper ...


...The final death of Beloved occurs when Sethe is confronted with a “rememory”; instead of attacking Beloved, like she did in the past, Sethe attempts to hurt Denver’s employer. This new action causes Beloved to disappear; Sethe instead of doing what she did previously does something new- it stops the cycle. New action gives a new course.
Remembering past generations brings the same action and feelings to the present. Memories that are imported have an effect on the present, and how one looks at the world changes. Memory may fail, people recall actions that may not have actually happened how they say they do; confusion with details is inevitable. People’s names are erased, their identity, although separate before, becomes collective; when one is forgotten they all are: “Nothing better than to start the day’s serious work of beating back the past” (86).
.



Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Character of Beloved in Toni Morrison's Beloved Essay

- The Character of Beloved in Toni Morrison's Beloved Perhaps one of the most important issues in Toni Morrison's award-winning novel Beloved is Morrison's intentional diversity of possible interpretations. However the text is looked at and analyzed, it is the variety of these multiple meanings that confounds any simple interpretation and gives the novel the complexity. The debate rages on over many topics, but one issue of central and basic importance to the understanding of the novel is defining the different possibilities for interpreting the title character....   [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]

Better Essays
2498 words (7.1 pages)

Beloved: The Haunting Past of America Essay

-      Some people cannot remember anything for weeks, months, or even years.  This condition is called amnesia, "the loss of memory as a result of brain injury or deterioration, shock, fatigue, senility, drug use, alcoholism, anesthesia, illness, or psychoneurotic reaction."1[1]  Especially, when amnesia is a psychoneurotic reaction, it can cover even the patient's entire life.  Toni Morrison, in an interview, said that not only an individual but also an entire nation could be diagnosed as (psychoneurotic) amnesia.  Discussing Beloved, she explained what she calls a "national amnesia." I thought this [Beloved] has got to be the least read of all the books I'd written because it is about...   [tags: Toni Morrison, Beloved Essays]

Better Essays
2841 words (8.1 pages)

Use of the Female Gothic in Beloved Essay

- Use of the Female Gothic in Beloved         Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved is a slave narrative, but it encompasses much more than slavery.  Unlike many slave narratives that focus on the male perception of slavery, Morrison's novel portrays slavery from a feminine point of view.  The main characters are Sethe, her daughter, Denver, and the mysterious Beloved.  In the beginning of the novel, Sethe and her daughter live alone in 124, a house that is haunted by the ghost of Sethe's first daughter....   [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]

Better Essays
2974 words (8.5 pages)

Rememory in Toni Morrison's Beloved Essay

- Rememory in Toni Morrison's Beloved To survive, one must depend on the acceptance and integration of what is past and what is present. In her novel Beloved, Toni Morrison carefully constructs events that parallel the way the human mind functions; this serves as a means by which the reader can understand the activity of memory. "Rememory" enables Sethe, the novel's protagonist, to reconstruct her past realities. The vividness that Sethe brings to every moment through recurring images characterizes her understanding of herself....   [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]

Better Essays
1241 words (3.5 pages)

Toni Morrison's Beloved: Not a Story to be Passed On Essay

- Toni Morrison's Beloved: Not a Story to be Passed On Beloved, Toni Morrison's Nobel Prize winning novel, is a masterfully written book in which the characters must deal with a past that perpetually haunts them.  This haunting, in the form of a twenty year old ghost named Beloved, not only stalks them in the spirit, but also in the flesh.  Beloved, both in story and in character hides the truth in simple ways and convinces those involved that the past never leaves, it only becomes part of who they are.  This contortion of truth does not allow any character to escape.  Each one hides and runs from the brutality of slavery, yet cannot escape it's heritage.  Set in the post-Civil War era of th...   [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]

Better Essays
5443 words (15.6 pages)

Essay on The Importance of the Past in Toni Morrison's Beloved

-   "The future was sunset; the past something to leave behind. And if it didn't stay behind, well, you might have to stomp it out. Slave life; freed life-every day was a test and a trial. Nothing could be counted on in a world where even when you were a solution you were a problem"1 The past is something that, without clinical illness, is impossible to forget. No matter how horrific or emotionally damaging, it cannot be changed. What we chose to do with this memory of the past will shape our future....   [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]

Better Essays
2275 words (6.5 pages)

Essay about Toni Morrison's Beloved - Bold but Unsuccessful

- The Bold but Unsuccessful Beloved Toni Morrison's fifth novel, Beloved, a vividly unconventional family saga, is set in Ohio in the mid 1880s. By that time slavery had been shattered by the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation and the succeeding constitutional amendments, though daily reality for the freed slaves continued to be a matter of perpetual struggle, not only with segregation and its attendant insults, but the curse of memory. Morrison's heroine, Sethe, is literally haunted - by the baby daughter she killed in a gesture of terrible mercy, when threatened with recapture after her escape....   [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]

Better Essays
736 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on Religion in "Beloved"

- Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved, explores the physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering that was brought on by slavery. Several critical works recognize that Morrison incorporates aspects of traditional African religions and to Christianity to depict the anguish slavery placed not only on her characters, but other enslaved African Americans. This review of literature will explore three different scholarly articles that exemplifies how Morrison successfully uses African religions and Christianity to depict the story of how slavery affected the characters’ lives in the novel, even after their emancipation from slavery....   [tags: Literary Analysis]

Better Essays
829 words (2.4 pages)

Comparing the Role of the Ghost in Morrison's Beloved and Kingston's No Name Woman

- The Symbolic Role of the Ghost in Morrison's Beloved and Kingston's No Name Woman The eponymous ghosts which haunt Toni Morrison's Beloved and Maxine Hong Kingston's "No Name Woman" (excerpted from The Woman Warrior) embody the consequence of transgressing societal boundaries through adultery and murder. While the wider thematic concerns of both books differ, however both authors use the ghost figure to represent a repressed historical past that is awakened in their narrative retelling of the stories....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Better Essays
979 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Beloved: Analysis

- From the beginning, Beloved focuses on the import of memory and history. Sethe struggles daily with the haunting legacy of slavery, in the form of her threatening memories and also in the form of her daughter’s aggressive ghost. For Sethe, the present is mostly a struggle to beat back the past, because the memories of her daughter’s death and the experiences at Sweet Home are too painful for her to recall consciously. But Sethe’s repression is problematic, because the absence of history and memory inhibits the construction of a stable identity....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
7004 words (20 pages)