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- As much as society does not want to admit, violence serves as a form of entertainment. In media today, violence typically has no meaning. Literature, movies, and music, saturated with violence, enter the homes of millions everyday. On the other hand, in Beloved, a novel by Toni Morrison, violence contributes greatly to the overall work. The story takes place during the age of the enslavement of African-Americans for rural labor in plantations. Sethe, the proud and noble protagonist, has suffered a great deal at the hand of schoolteacher.... [tags: Beloved, Toni Morrison]
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- 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]
2498 words (7.1 pages)
- The Ghost of Beloved One of the most engaging arguments about Toni Morrison’s book Beloved is centered around the nature of the girl Beloved. The argument is whether Beloved is simply a young woman who herself had suffered the horrors of slavery, or the ghost of Sethe’s crawling already. baby girl. The evidence shows that Morrison intended Beloved to be the ghost of the crawling already. girl. It has been said that there are basically two reasons why ghosts walk: they have either unfinished business to attend to of have died a very violent death.... [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]
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- Style Analysis of Beloved In the 500 word passage reprinted below, from the fictional novel Beloved, Toni Morrison explains the pent-up anger and aggression of a man who is forced to keep a steady stance when in the presence of his white masters. She uses simple language to convey her message, yet it is forcefully projected. The tone is plaintively matter-of-fact; there is no dodging the issue or obscure allusions. Because of this, her work has an intensity unparalleled by more complex writing.... [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]
1106 words (3.2 pages)
- 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]
1241 words (3.5 pages)
- Memory in Toni Morrison's Beloved Memories are works of fiction, selective representations of experiences actual or imagined. They provide a framework for creating meaning in one's own life as well as in the lives of others. In Toni Morrison's novel Beloved, memory is a dangerous and debilitating faculty of human consciousness. Sethe endures the tyranny of the self imposed prison of memory. She expresses an insatiable obsession with her memories, with the past. Sethe is compelled to explore and explain an overwhelming sense of yearning, longing, thirst for something beyond herself, her daughter, her Beloved.... [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved memorybel]
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- Analysis of Toni Morrison's Beloved Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize winning book Beloved, is a historical novel that serves as a memorial for those who died during the perils of slavery. The novel serves as a voice that speaks for the silenced reality of slavery for both men and women. Morrison in this novel gives a voice to those who were denied one, in particular African American women. It is a novel that rediscovers the African American experience. The novel undermines the conventional idea of a story’s time scheme.... [tags: Beloved Toni Morrison Literature Essays]
4384 words (12.5 pages)
- The concept of the goddess--especially in her three-fold embodiment as maiden, mother, and crone-is amazingly persistent for writers who want to explore gender roles. In particular, Toni Morrison uses the triple goddess to consider varieties of "male" and "female" thinking and to see how many roles an individual may wind up playing. The goddess we are concerned with in this Essay is many and yet one. She is a moon goddess, with triple aspects. Ths most common names she has traveled under are Artemis, Selene, and Hecate.... [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]
1725 words (4.9 pages)
- 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]
5443 words (15.6 pages)
- The Importance of Color in Toni Morrison's Beloved Toni Morrison's Beloved - a novel that addresses the cruelties that result from slavery. Morrison depicts the African American's quest for a new life while showing the difficult task of escaping the past. The African American simply wants to claim freedom and create a sense of community. In Beloved, the characters suffer not from slavery itself, but as a result of slavery - that is to say the pain occurs as they reconstruct themselves, their families, and their communities only "after the devastation of slavery" (Kubitschek 115). Throughout the novel, Morrison utilizes color as a symbolic tool to represent a free, safe, happy l... [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]
1890 words (5.4 pages)
Obviously, Sethe is the most dramatically haunted throughout the book, both by her past and by Beloved. As far as her past is concerned, so many things had happened to her and by her, it'd be impossible to not be haunted by something. For starters, she was beaten so badly that her back has a permanent blossoming scar, one that she calls 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). The significance of this obscene scar on her back has much to do with the fact that it is just one more thing she cannot see, but knows it is always there. Also, the line "Could have cherries too now for all I know" may show that she understands that she is not only stuck with her past, but it is growing and feeding off of her. This gives a sense of foreshadowing into the ominous past brought to light with the return of Beloved and the stories of Sweet Home exchanged between Sethe and Paul D.
The most obvious haunting of the story is that which the story revolves around the haunting of 124. Beloved's presence is apparent to Sethe, Baby Suggs and Denver, and they live with it for some time. It is not until the day that Paul D steps into the house that things change. He wastes little time in antagonizing the spirit to leave. "God damn it! Hush up! Leave the place alone! Get the Hell out!" (18). And with that, the spirit is gone, much to Paul D's delight but Denver's horror, as Beloved was her only companion. This may be significant as Paul D is not only a figure from Sethe's past, but also he is the first man to really enter 124 on their behalf. His actions as a "savior" only contrast the haunting.
There is little that Beloved does not do to disrupt life in 124. She seizes Sethe and tries to make her her own. One way to look at Beloved is like that of a vampire: sucking the life out of all close to her. She sucks the life out of Denver with her insane jealousy both of Denver and Sethe's relationship, and also the simple fact that Denver survived when Beloved did not. Beloved also seizes Sethe, making her her own before sucking the life out. "I am Beloved and she is mine" (210).
Beloved was able to play off of Sethe's own haunting of her past to get what she wanted. Sethe's judgment was obviously clouded as she focused primarily on the daughter she had murdered years ago. Beloved made demands, ridiculous ones. "Anything she wanted she got, and when Sethe ran out of things to give her, Beloved invented desire" (240). Sethe wound up quitting her job, completely neglected Denver to the point that she moved out of the house, and completely neglected herself, dwindling down to bones as Beloved ate them out of house and home. The analogy of a vampire could also be used in the sense that Beloved drained Sethe's physical body with her needs and demands.
It also seems somewhat significant the word choices that the characters say when talking of the past. It's clear they don't forget, and could never forget, their past and what had happened to them. So rather than forget, they "disremember." They push it to the back of their mind where they won't think about it, but it is always there, waiting for them to "rememory" it.
It could also be said that the readers themselves are haunted in this story. Morrison clearly depicts disturbing stories and events that had happened the characters stories that a normal reader would not soon be able to forget. It seems that she wanted us to not just live through the characters' hauntings, but to feel the pain of the past in our own thoughts as well.
Of course, the story is not all about the supernatural. Slavery also plays a large part in the story. As Sethe and Paul D reminisce over Sweet Home, Paul D told a story about Mister the rooster. The irony of the story was that Mister couldn't get out of his egg himself. Paul D had to help him, yet, once he was out, he ruled the farm. "Mister, he looked so...free. Better than me. Stronger, tougher. Son a bitch couldn't even get out the shell by hisself but he was still king and I was... (72)" Mister had all the freedom Paul D never thought he would have, and it was all thanks to him. He could save others but couldn't save himself. That sentence also is applied to Sethe, as she murdered her own daughter, not to kill her, but to save her from a life of misery and torture.
One repeated symbol that caught my attention was that of Paul D's tobacco tin. Mentioned throughout his own thoughts a few times, it was a sad representation of his heart since Sweet Home.
It was some time before he could put Alfred, Georgia, Sixo, schoolteacher, Halle, his brothers, Sethe, Mister, the taste of iron, the sight of butter, the smell of hickory, notebook paper, one by one, into the tobacco tin lodged in his chest. By the time he got to 124 nothing in this world could pry it open. (Pg 113)
The tin can wasn't just a hindrance for him accepting and moving on from his past, it also played a role in his relationship with Sethe. When she asked him to talk to her about what he went through and what he knew from Sweet Home, something in him couldn't.
Paul D. had only begun, what he had told her was only the beginning when her fingers on his knee, stopped him... He would keep the rest where it belonged: in that tobacco tin buried in his chest where a red heart used to be. Its lid rusted shut/ He would not pry it loose now... the contents would shame him. (Pg 72)
Throughout the story, there are so many different anectdotes and metaphors, ways to interpret and ways to analyze, however, the main focus of the story always reads through clearly. Some may choose to read into the supernatural aspects while some read into the slavery aspect, but in the end, we all read the same story. And if Morrison really did intend on her readers to be haunted by the stories she tells, I think it's safe to say she did her job well.