Beloved Essay, Research Paper
By Toni Morrison
Your novel Beloved evokes a tremendous amount of emotion from its readers. The various stylistic techniques enable the reader to see beyond the twisted story. Your use of stream of conscientiousness, symbolism, and characterization bring forth a well-written novel containing strong emotion.
While I was reading your novel, I found myself very enthralled with the character Sethe. She is such an iron-willed woman, and a daily survivor of guilt and inner-conflict. Sethe must have felt tremendous guilt for killing her own flesh and blood, but it was worth it to her. She loved her child so much that she wouldn?t allow her to suffer in slavery as she did. When Beloved returns, Sethe felt guilty because Beloved loved her so much. I also found it very interesting that life seemed so normal only after a few days of living with Beloved. Before she arrived, Sethe felt ostracized in her community, but when Beloved was there she feels as if everything was back to normal. Beloved changed Sethe from her visit. Sethe represents the many African Americans that went through the pain and suffering of slavery. Here is a quote from Beloved that directly explains Sethe?s pain. ?Her past had been like her present-intolerable-and since she knew death was anything but forgetfulness, she used the little energy lift in her for pondering color.? Even though Sethe didn?t really overcome her struggles, she did help herself cope with it by being a strong-willed woman and loving mother. I learned form the character Sethe that the people who dealt and lived with the torture of slavery were the strongest people mentally and physically I?ve ever known.
There are multiple extended themes within your novel Beloved. Myself and other sources found the themes of slavery, dealing with the past and how it can come back to haunt you, love-concept-misunderstandings, relationships such as mother-daughter, personal endurance -remaining sane, and the black community life. Of these themes, I mostly related with the mother-daughter relationship. There is a quote that I think symbolizes the love between Sethe and beloved, ?Beloved could not keep her eyes off of Sethe.? This quote shows me that there is nothing that can replace or imitate the mother-daughter relationship. The whole novel was about helping Sethe deal with and try to recover from the murder-sacrifice of slavery for her daughter. I learned to respect and savor every moment with my mother.
You used a plethora of styles, stream of conscientiousness, symbolism, and characterization. With the stream of conscientiousness writing, these help portray the effects of the past into the future-it gave opportunity to go into the mind of the character. One major symbolism in Beloved was the tree. The scars that form a tree on Sethe?s back symbolize slavery. It is trying to give the idea that emotional scars are just as painful or more than physical scars. Another use of symbolism was the water. Beloved came out of the water, just as a newborn does after the mother?s water breaks. I think that this symbolized the cleansing of the human soul. When using characterization, you gave the point of view of each character, which helped me to become closer to each individual character. I don?t think that you personally are very closely relate to this story, but I think that being you are an African American, it could resemble your ancestors and families history in slavery or black culture. My sources say that you always intertwine black folklore into your novels. African-American folk tradition includes the belief that a ghost might occasionally appear among the living to indicate that all is well, to teach a lesson, or to guide the living to some good fortune. Your motivation for this book was an 1855 news article about a fugitive slave named Margaret Gamar who killed her child rather than return into slavery. I also think that maybe your ancestors and family have a past in slavery and this helped with your inspiration to write all of your novels.
From reading Beloved I learned a lot. First, I learned of the tremendous trials and tribulations that the African American culture has gone through with slavery. I have so much respect for their pain and suffering. Second, I learned that a mother-daughter relationship is an irreplaceable and wonderful thing. The love between them is an unpredictable thing that can cause people to make life sacrifices. Lastly, your novel Beloved helped me to understand and diversify myself. Learning about different cultures helps round my character and only motivates me to read more of your novels. I enjoyed Beloved and I hope to read more of your selection. Thank You!
Simpson, Angela C., Morrison?s ?Beloved?, Vol 56, The Explicator,
22 March, 1998, pp. 154
Douglass, Frederick. Narritive of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave. Cambridge:Belknap P of Harvard UP, 1967
Smailes, Tom, ?Toni Morrison/Beloved Backround Stuff.? Classnotes, 3/oo
Multiple authors, Contemporary Women Authors, 1997, pp. 287-8