Beloved By Toni Morrison Essay Examples

Essays on Beloved By Toni Morrison

The mother-daughter relationship is a complicated form of love, in which it’s a relationship full of nurturing, mentoring, and gentle guiding. It’s a relationship that is treasured both by the daughter and the mother, and is carried throughout their lifetimes, and eventually passed on from the daughter to their own.

Meaning of Family in Beloved by Toni Morrison
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Family means everything to many of the characters in our novel. Both biological and chosen familial relationships are incredibly important to the characters and create both a source of happiness and deep sorrow. Family can be seen as something that creates strength, that builds a community and fosters a sense of confidence and belonging. At the same time, a familial bond can be abused and used to hurt someone. Watching one's family suffer often hurts more than your own suffering,…...
Beloved By Toni Morrison
The Influence of Context on Characterization
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Throughout the vast history of world literature, there has been an abundance of commonalities which bind texts as one collective unit. One theme prevalent and expanded upon in a vast array of works of literature is the notion of identity, and more specifically, changes in identity. Identity is a concept in which one’s recognition of their own character leads to revelations about their role in the world. This idea is used in literature to assist readers in understanding the reasoning…...
Beloved By Toni Morrison
African American Women’s Impacts
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“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” Martin Luther King Jr. In this quote, Mr. King was able to highlight a valuable perspective within the African American culture. African Americans were never silent towards their fight against slavery, segregation, or oppression. Throughout history, African Americans have dealt with tremendous anguish. African Americans were able to express their suffering through various mediums. Song, poetry, novels, and even stated their view publicly through speeches, activism…...
Beloved By Toni Morrison
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Life of Ex-Slave People in Beloved by Toni Morrison
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The novel​ Beloved​ written by Toni Morrison, is about an ex-slave women named Sethe who lives with her daughter Denver in a haunted house 124. Both Sethe and Denver were isolated as their community felt disgusted and separated themselves from Sethe because she committed a horrendous and inhuman act of killing her child Beloved. This lead her two sons, Howard and Buglar to run away while her mother-in-law, Baby Suggs became depressed and unfortunately died. One day, her old friend…...
Beloved By Toni Morrison
Themes in African-American Author`s Work
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Literature gives us a new way of thinking about the world. Literature is an art with the help of language as a medium. It is often said that literature is a mirror of life and picturizes the actual life of the living beings of this society. Literature is a kind of writing charged with the human interest, characterized by performance, coloured by imagination and artistic embellishment. It deals with the life of human beings and it expresses emotions, feelings, sentiments…...
Beloved By Toni Morrison
The Role of the Color Red in Beloved, a Novel by Toni Morrison
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Born in 1831, Toni Morrison is a Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winning author, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their detailed African American central characters and intricate storylines. Morrison has published several works, but perhaps her most critically acclaimed and famous is Beloved. Color imagery was used generously throughout the work, particularly, the color red. In Beloved, the color red came to symbolize violence, masculinity, mortality, love, hope, and strength. It's Morrison's meticulous use of color imagery that…...
Beloved By Toni Morrison
Social Ideas in “Beloved” by Toni Morrison
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Throughout the book of “Beloved ” is the past repeatedly brought up physically and mentally through the images described in the book leading to how the life she lives at sweet home is too real to leave. The psychological approach uses the theories of Freud exploring the motivations of characters and the symbolic meanings of the events regarding that character, and the Freudian view of the id, ego, and superego. The Id symbolising instincts primitive or other components of personality…...
Beloved By Toni MorrisonLiterature
The Tragedy of Paul D from “Beloved”
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In Toni Morrison’s Beloved Paul D, as a character, struggles with his masculinity constantly throughout the story. He is constantly assaulted with thoughts of his “past” life and does not see himself as a man worthy of anyone else’s admiration. This is mostly shown in his interactions with Sethe and Beloved. Most of his insecurities are shown to the reader through his flashback to his time as a slave, in which we see Paul D at his lowest. In these…...
Beloved By Toni MorrisonLiterature
Novel Beloved by Toni Morrison
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The four literary lenses applied throughout this course—feminism, Marxism, psychoanalytic, and deconstructionism—offer distinctive perspectives for analyzing literature and language. Feminist theory focuses on the understanding that gender constructs shape society, politics, and culture. Marxist theory centers on questions of classist structures, hegemony, socioeconomics, and in what way(s) literature reflects this collective class consciousness. Psychoanalytic theory deals primarily with the unconscious mind and how instincts affect thoughts, behaviors, and characteristics. Deconstructionist theory emphasizes language’s inherent semantic discrepancy. Considering the failures present…...
Beloved By Toni MorrisonNovels
Topic of Slavery in Novel ‘Beloved’
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The history of America has always involved the horrific topic of slavery. It is embedded in the textbooks of young children for the education of American history, which includes the tragic institution of slavery. The South revolved around slavery during the early development of the country in the 1800’s. The southern states were the ringleaders and spokespeople for slavery while the northern and western states were considered free states. Beloved is a novel set in Cincinnati, Ohio circa 1873 after…...
Beloved By Toni MorrisonNovelsSlavery
Animal Imagery in Morrison`s Beloved
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Those born into slavery were instantly separated from their mothers and families, denied the right to know their own age or birthdays, sold in auction like cattle, and above all else were seen as property rather than human beings. Through the use of animal imagery, Morrison reveals the emotional toll of slavery, the animalistic behavior slaves were reduced to, and the dehumanization of slaves. Morrison uses animal imagery to demonstrate the emotional toll of slavery. To illustrate, Sethe describes the…...
Beloved By Toni MorrisonNovels
Motherhood in Toni Morrison’s Beloved
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The novel is a dialogue with the American idea of oneself and the American sin of slavery. Beloved is concerned with sacrifice. It illustrates the disremembering that is found in life and art in the United States. The novel’s ‘rememory’ is a response to all that was lost: to the loss of memory, of Africa, of history, of language, culture, people, and the dead. The characters go through a constant struggle to beat back the past, however, it would not…...
Beloved By Toni MorrisonMotherhood
Beloved Novel Analysis
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Beloved's return gives Sethe a chance to 'lay it all down'. This strange and uncultured woman arrives at the house, 'A fully dressed woman walked out of the water'. Her appearance mystifies Sethe, as her skin is smooth and obviously not that of an ex-slave. Although Beloved is called a 'woman' her skin is as smooth as a baby's. Morrison describes it as 'new skin, lineless and smooth'. There are many characteristics of Beloved that are child-like. She has a…...
Beloved By Toni MorrisonNovels
Jesus Christ Figure in Toni Morrison’s Novel Beloved
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Faith is often described as a feeling one cannot describe nor explain. Faith is intuition and a belief that something or someone exist without any evidentiary proof. This form of indescribable faith is present in the novel, Beloved, by Toni Morrison. The novel takes place in the post civil war south of United States surrounding the lives of Suggs family who were all former slaves. The plot of the story heightens when Beloved, the deceased child, of Sethe is somehow…...
Beloved By Toni MorrisonChristianityFaithGodJesus ChristNovels
Abuse in the Novel Beloved
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Many of the characters from the novel Beloved suffered extreme abuse. Sethe, an independent mother, was no exception to the abuse. Sethe survived through many different accounts of mistreatment. The school teacher’s nephews made Sethe suffer the cruelest oppression. They held her down against her will, while she was pregnant, and brutally stole the milk that her body was producing for her child. This is the worst pain for Sethe because, besides the obvious obtrusions, she feared she would not…...
AbuseBeloved By Toni MorrisonNovels
Beloved, Water Imagery
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We visually see water as a clear, constantly flowing object integrated in many areas such as an ocean, a pool, or even a simple cup. But sometimes we do not see the meaning water can have and it’s relation to society. In the novel Beloved, water is related to and involved in many instances that lead to a positive change. Characters like Sethe have experienced a situation in which she had to once escape sweet home, a former slave home,…...
Beloved By Toni MorrisonWater
Beloved by Toni Morrison
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Sethe has a very complicated relationship with herself. Sethe is the character that is not able to forget the trauma of the times when she was a slave and fearing that her children might not fall into the same fate, prefers to even kill them. The central theme is that Sethe is in search of her own identity and Morrison also tries to show the cruelty and disturbing consequences of slavery that existed even after they were not slaves. The…...
Beloved By Toni Morrison
Response to Toni Morrison’s Home
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Toni Morrison’s use of language throughout the novel gives her writing a sense of wit; it is easily understood by the reader, and acts as a subtle hint into the minds and emotions of the characters. Her use of innuendo speaks to a sexual theme, a common tension found among the main characters of the story. The final passage of Chapter 4 depicts a dialogue between Cee, and Sarah, sharing a ripened melon on a hot afternoon. The language used…...
AbuseBeloved By Toni MorrisonCharacterLanguageLiteratureNovels
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies
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Many people have categorized A Midsummer Night's Dream as a romantic comedy. But how accurate is this assessment? A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of Shakespeare's most beloved comedies and it is generally thought of as a sparkling romantic comedy. However, while the play is lovely and comedic, it also has a strong trace of darkness and cruelty, a sinister underside that is inextricable from its amorous themes. Midsummer may end with a series of happy weddings, but along the…...
A Midsummer Nights DreamBeloved By Toni MorrisonComedyShakespeare
A Feminist Approach to Toni Morisson’s Beloved
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When hearing about Toni Morrison’s novel, “Beloved”, one may imagine it as being another story about a slave’s life. And this is not wrong. “Beloved” does tell the tales of many slaves. It tells of whippings, rape, hard work and escape. But, while drawing this image of the historical aspect of enslavement and black culture, Morrison also tells the personal story of a very strong female slave. Morrison’s novel focuses mainly on the female characters – Sethe, Baby Suggs, Denver,…...
Beloved By Toni Morrison
Speech: Classroom and Beloved Principal Sir/madam
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Hello and a very good evening to our beloved principal sir/madam, teachers and my dear friends. Today I stand here to bid a formal goodbye to all of you. When I joined this school many years back (you may mention the correct number of years in here for your speech), I was filled with lots of doubts and of course was scared a bit. But slowly with time we all got glued so strongly that even 'fevicol' started feeling jealous.…...
Beloved By Toni MorrisonClassroom
My Beloved Charioteer
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Shashi Deshpande is an award-winning Indian novelist. Shashi Deshpande makes gender central to her writing. In her story “MY BELOVED CHARIOTEER” she tries to the show the relationships of grandmother, mother and daughter at various stages of life. It is a story of a mother daughter relationship as well as a women’s role as a wife. Mother and daughter relationship is like sisters or sparring partners. They care for each other. My Beloved Charioteer depicts the life of mother’s nature…...
Beloved By Toni MorrisonDaughter
Novel Beloved About Civil War, Slavery and Dehumanization
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Dehumanization played a crucial role in Beloved, slavery and the civil war by demoralizing, degrading and insulting African Americans. In Beloved, the slaves were dehumanized throughout the story. There were many instances where a slave was demoralized, degraded or abused. There were many instances where one would "get the bit". In chapter seven, Paul D explains how he had the bit in his mouth. "I couldn't... I had a bit in my mouth" (Morrison 69). This is an example of…...
Beloved By Toni MorrisonCivil WarNovelsPoliticsSlavery
Being a True Disciple of Jesus
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"It is not possible to be a true disciple of Jesus in the modern world" Do you agree? Christianity is a worldwide religion and this leads us to believe that it is possible to be a true disciple in the modern world. "Modern Christians believe that they are called to follow the example Jesus set. They spend time discovering the teachings of Jesus from the bible and trying to put those teachings into practice". (Michael Keene). There are many examples…...
Beloved By Toni MorrisonChristianityReligion
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Beloved Character Development

However, throughout Toni Morrison’s Beloved, we see this relationship shift from one created out of love and instinct, to that of fear, confusion, and even desperation. It is through this relationship that we can see the change in dynamic of the connection that Sethe and Beloved share, through Sethe’s mercy killing of her daughter, to the reappearance of Beloved nearly twenty years later, to her eventual re-disappearance. Beloved was violently separated by her mother, by her mother, much too soon before she was ready, resulting in a strain in their relationship.

In Beloved, the story itself is a narrative on slavery and its impact on those who have been victims of slavery. It brings in much of the real-life issues that black slaves encountered, one of which is the focus of much of the narrative that we see in the story, and one that was not uncommon to the time: a mother kills her own child to keep her from experiencing the physical, emotional, and mental horrors she may experience in enslavement. However, we read about how the child actually returns. First, she is only read as “Beloved”, seen as a ghost or spirit haunting the house that Sethe and her daughter, Denver, reside. Then, after being forcefully exorcised from her home, she returns in a physical, material form in the age she would have been if she hadn’t been killed by her mother. In the beginning of the novel, the two-year-old’s presence is referred to as “spiteful” (Morrison 3), “sad” and even “evil” (10). Later in the novel, although Beloved is in the physical body of a twenty-year-old female, her mind is still that of a young girl barely two years old. However, her mind is quickly evolving to catch up with her physical age. At the same time, Beloved is attempting to develop in other ways, such as sexually and emotionally.

Beloved is separated from her mother through death, but also by the barrier between the physical and spiritual worlds. She haunts the house as a toddler would throw a tantrum. A two-year-old begins to express themselves clearly and developing their communication skills that allow them to interact with other individuals. While a child may know what they’re trying to say, others do not. A two-year-old begins with two words and moves on to six words. Throughout the novel, Beloved’s words are a jumble of two to five-word phrases and sentences, with occasional longer dialogue. When the child cannot effectively communicate, they begin to grow angry and frustrated, and will often lash out in a tantrum (“2 year old”).

In the beginning of the novel, she has very few ways of communicating her feelings to the physical. The easiest way she finds herself “talking” is moving items found throughout the house, such as throwing objects. As an ethereal being, she has strength, but this is not unusual for a child. Because she was growing from that of a baby to a child, the “child is also stronger, which means their outbursts will be more violent” (“2 year old”). Beloved’s actions are that of a larger scale but follow a typical idea of a two-year-old’s response to anger. “…the baby’s spirit picked up Here Boy and slammed him into the wall… break[ing] two of his legs… so hard he went into convulsions…” (Morrison 14). Sethe then wonders, “Who would have thought that little old baby could harbor so much rage?” (5), but Beloved did not want to hurt the dog; Here Boy was the closes object she could reach and used him to express how she was feeling after being separated from her mother and being unable to communicate with the other people in the house. The larger her anger, the larger her tantrums: “It took him a while to realize that his legs were not shaking because of worry, but because the floorboards were… the house itself was pitching” (Morrison 21). Later in the book, it is revealed that what she did was a result of wanting her mother’s attention, something she wanted. It is the result of “their struggle to control their actions, impulses, and feelings” (“2-year-old”).

After Beloved’s house-shaking outburst, Paul D exorcises Beloved from the house. The next time she shows up, she is in a physical form outside of the home. With her “new skin, lineless and smooth” (Morrison 61) and “her soft new feet” that are “barely capable of their job” (65), Beloved evolves from birth to an adult. Beloved still has the ideas and conceptions of an infant, and the same ideas of existence as “every afternoon she doubted anew the older woman’s return” (68). This doubt could be an indication of separation anxiety, which she has been suffering with since her murder. Toddlers with separation anxiety “become upset when parents leave for a short time… the child may cry, prevent their departure… this normal behavior is a cue that the child is able to distinguish their parents from other adults and is aware that they may not return” (Huberty). Later in the novel, Beloved hangs off of Sethe to the point she keeps the woman from leaving the house, as “she cannot lose her again” (Morrison 250), because every separation has been too much to bear. The separations were more traumatizing, despite her age at the time of her murder: “Three times I lost her: once with the flowers; once when she went into the sea; once under the bridge when I went to join her” (Morrison 253). The fear of losing her mother is the reason Beloved wanted to join Sethe, so they wouldn’t separate again.

Some of Beloved’s toddler-like attributes never truly leave her, such as the fact that when a child is two, the “world is still primarily ‘me’ centered” (“2-year-old”). While Beloved doesn’t copy her mother, she does watch her and furthers her symptoms of separation anxiety: “Like a familiar, she hovered, never leaving the room Sethe was in unless required and told to. She rose early in the dark to be there, waiting, in the kitchen when Sethe came down… She was in the window at two when Sethe returned, or the doorway; then the porch, its steps, the path, the road, till finally, surrendering to the habit, Beloved began inching down Bluestone further and further each day to meet Sethe and walk her back [to home]” (Morrison 69). This process slowly leads to Beloved’s need to be with Sethe, a want she has had since the beginning, but is not revealed until later, when she says, “I am Beloved, and she is mine” (248), and also says “the woman is there with the face I want” (249). It is here that we see that Beloved attempts to develop mentally in multiple parts at one time, which is why “Beloved is repeatedly described at fragmented, split off, shattered” (Koolish); but, “Beloved has knowledge of the splitting self” (Koolish). Beloved is aware of this fact, that she begins to feel physical effects of the stress: “When her tooth came out—an odd fragment, last in the row—she thought it was starting” (Morrison 157).

One reason for Beloved’s advancing problems is that her only father figure is driven out of the house. According to Freudian ideology: “There is no question that heterosexual orientation is a major outcome of the oedipal period for most girls, and that the traditional psychoanalytical account of the development of female sexuality, and growth of the girl’s relationship to her father describes this” (Chodorow). Psychologists Maccoby and Jacklin concluded from the study that father’s like some flirting from their daughters (Chodorow). Since Beloved’s father isn’t present when she appears in her physical form, Beloved seeks out the attention of Sethe’s current lover, Paul D. She gives him the title of “father” and tries to use him to complete the preoedipal stage to the oedipal period she desires mentally. However, Paul D rejects her and ignores whatever desires he may feel for her. While “a girl does not give up this preoedipal relationship completely, but rather builds whatever happens later upon this preoedipal base” (Chodorow), Paul D’s rejection of her stops Beloved’s development. Paul D rejects her in all ideas and forms and Beloved cannot fully develop.


Beloved then goes to focus all of her effort and attention onto Sethe. In doing so, she goes back to the preoedipal stage of development. “Freud’s characterization of the girl’s preoedipal connection to her mother as ‘attachment,’ emphasizes this persistence, by pointing to the dual nature of attachment: a girl actively attaches herself, and chooses her attachment, to her mother, and at the same time is passively, and not as a matter of choice, attached—an appendage or extension” (Chodorow). Beloved believes, “I am not separate from her there is no place where I stop” (Morrison 248). Beloved has attached herself to her mother, so much so that she wants to be together with her as one unit, or “hot thing” as Morrison writes (248). Beloved focuses on her oedipal ideals, ignoring the real-life idea that Sethe is a separate person from Beloved.

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