This poignant story takes place in the states of Ohio and Kentucky, in the late 19th century before, during and after the civil war. This novel is based on a controversial subject: the plight of blacks in the United States since the end of slavery, which still remains a sensitive topic even today due to the existing inequalities. On the narrative level, Morrison tries to restore the voice of victims by giving them a folkloric dimension, bringing them closer to their true roots. Toni’s writing style is often epic, rhythmic, leaving the reader breathless and holding him or her spellbound. She gives credibility to her characters, allowing them to assert by offering them the opportunity to speak in some trivial way, the least popular and stripped them of all artifice. She demonstrates that slavery denies not only the individuality but also the identity of the one who suffers it.
In psychology, identity is the awareness that an individual has of oneself and by the recognition of others, of what that individual is as well as of his or her ego. It allows the individual to perceive what is unique about him or her, that is to say, his or her individuality. The characters are the heir of several generations of slaves. They just gained their freedom while their ancestors were the property of someone else: the slave masters. Sethe was nineteen years old when she escapes from Bon Abri and Paul D just a few years older. What were, therefore, the objects of self-identification while families were separated and the slaves treated like animals? Toni Morrison presents the character of Seth, who as a slave had already lost her status of an individual. Despite the goodness of her masters, the Garners, Sethe is just a woman among the other slaves to ...
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...look the one with common names and focalize on School Teacher. Despite a short appearance in the novel, School Teacher is the reason behind the pain afflicted to Sethe. He is the only white who is not identified by a first and last name, but by a nickname instead. Through that, he represents the authority over the black people of that time and what white people were to black: their “teachers” who set the rules.
The black community judged that Sethe was crazy. This madness cannot be condemned or justified. Her madness is slightly different. Being insane means not only a mental disruption but also acting beyond any common sense or control. However, Sethe’s action was characterized by reason. She refused to subject her children to what she experienced and, therefore, believed that the only way to save them from slavery was to kill them. Because she is alienated from the
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