Toni Morrison's Beloved: Analyzing the Truth

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Toni Morrison’s Beloved is an unconventional post modern narrative that essentially captures the atrocious truths of slavery, the Middle Passage and the psychological ailments, extrinsic and intrinsic, that bind an ex-slave after “freedom.” At the root, perpetual rape, inhumane abuse and the seizure of children and love ones for profitable gain, as Morrison proves, spawns a tree of psychological trauma. Reminiscent of the “chokecherry tree” that is on Sethe’s back; this trauma is a terrible scar, a remnant, of the slave past. Morrison uses the traumatic experiences, of several characters such as Sethe’s mother, Nan, and Baby Suggs, to give the reader a broad examination of the tragedy of chattel slavery and the vile fruit that trauma bears. It is important for us to understand that the trauma Morrison speaks of stems rebellion; however, most importantly and central to the text, memory repression in its victims. Morrison utilizes Beloved, the two-year old daughter Sethe sacrificed for the “greater good” of freedom, as an embodiment of trauma, but also the collective memory of the Middle Passage. This character appears in the narrative as a vengeful ghost who haunts Sethe’s residence, 124 Bluestone Road, and as bizarre young woman, who according to Paul D, “Sleeps, eats and raises hell” (Beloved 255). Beloved is a metaphorical representation of the Middle Passage, slavery and its traumatic and haunting nature; however, Beloved is also a literal spectral being that haunts Sethe, and interacts with Denver and Paul D. Morrison steps outside the realms of realism into the magical, blurring the lines of fact and fiction, in order to tell a truth that lies beneath the facts of the slave experience and subjectifies the slave, through the discussion of trauma and the subsequent repression of memory. Toni Morrison utilizes all of the characters to convey, on some level, the
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