Toni Morrison’s Beloved: Not a Story to be Passed OnBeloved, 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 the rural Ohio back roads, each protagonist faces the fact that through Beloved’s return they must deal with the ties of the past and the prosperity of the future. And after dealing with those memories that don’t let them go, they can move on with their lives. Beloved, the ghostly character, drives this story of Sethe, Denver, and Paul D. to an exploding end of triumph and unity.
The story of Sethe is taken from a true story of a woman who did escape from slavery only to be caught by her past. In Morrison’s own words in an interview with Gloria Naylor, she concedes that Sethe is an intriguing character taken from a true account:
I had an idea that I didn’t know was a book idea. . . . One was a newspaper clipping about a woman named Margaret Garner in 1851. It said that the Abolitionists made a great deal out of her case because she had escaped from Kentucky with her four children. She had run off into a little woodshed right outside her house to kill them because she had been caugh…
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Morrison, Toni. Beloved. New York, Penguin Books USA Inc, 1988.
Schmidt, R. G. Hearing, Calling, and Naming: Aspects of NOMMO in Toni Morrison’s Beloved. Web. 5 May 2015.http://www.africanafrican.com/writers/Hearing,%20Calling%20and%20Naming%20%20Aspects%20of%20NOMMO%20in%20Toni%20Morrison%27s%20BELOVED.html
Taylor-Guthrie, Dannille, ed. Conversations With Toni Morrison. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1994.
Teish, Luisan. Jambalaya, The Natural Woman’s Book. San Francisco; Harper Collins Publishers, 1988.
“Slavery, Ghosts, and Beloved: Crash Course Literature 214.” John Green, Editor Crash Course. N.p., 29 May 2014. Web. 17 April 2015.