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“Beloved” by Toni Morrison

Essay Topic:

“Beloved” by Toni Morrison discusses slavery’s deconstruction of identity as well as explores the emotional, physical and spiritual devastation caused by slavery. Toni Morrison assumes that former slaves are haunted by devastation even in their freedom. Thus he raises important themes, because the question of slavery is still under discussion. Moreover, “Beloved” is discussed in accordance with supernatural dimension. Therefore, the paper will discuss the negative impact of slavery on sense of self and self-alienation.

Further, the paper aims at discussing main themes and motifs involved in “Beloved” as well as providing thorough examination of Morrison’s ideas and narrative style. The paper will progress through the methods of in-depth analysis and description.

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The purpose of the paper is to enlarge knowledge and to become more informed about slavery and community solidarity. Annotated Bibliography Badt, Karin. The Roots of the Body in Toni Morrison: A Mater of “Ancient Properties”. Journal Title: African American Review, 29, 4 (1995): 567-576.

The article discusses the ambivalence about maternal power and the uneasiness of the novel stating that Morrison’s novels signify the mother and evoke the desire for her meet with a depressing end. Furthermore, the article defines renovation of the self and the African-American community and says that, according to Morrison, deadly sacrifice is required. The article may be used to examine the catharsis and renewal of former slaves and to provide overview of religious experience of reincarnating. Bennett, Juda. Toni Morrison and the Burden of the Passing Narrative. African American Review, 35, 2 (2001): 205-215.

The article is devoted to examination of the passing myth, sometimes in only one or two paragraphs and often with indirection. Also the article emphasizes the contours of black identity throughout the novel and admits that the novel is important for history. Actually, Morrison conveys a rather standard, albeit postmodern, suspicion of truth. Therefore, the article will be used to examine and analyze the identity of black community in the novel and to outline the historical significance of the novel. Drake, Kimberly. Toni Morrison: A Critical Companion. Contributors: Kimberly S. Drake – author. African American Review, 35, 2 (2001): 333-334.

The article underlines interest in Morrison’s own texts’ blank spaces, in her usage of imagination and approach to her fiction. The article explains theoretically sophisticated concepts in a responsible and clear manner providing examination of novel in terms of identity development and Christian religious. Furthermore, the article discusses minor plot errors of the novel. Thus the article will be used to critically asses the novel and to analyze the concept of self as well as to discuss the role of the black community in identity development. Jones, Carolyn. “Sula” and “Beloved”: Images of Cain in the Novels of Toni Morrison.

African American Review, 27, 4 (1993): 615-623. The article provides thorough comparison between Morrison’ “Sula” and “Beloved” to find out similarities in author’s style of narration and themes involved. Carolyn states that memory is the main essential category of the author and Morrison wants to “re-memory” meaning he wants to use moral imagination shape the events of one’s life into story. The article will be used to provide in-depth analysis of author’s main themes and style of narration as well as to apply theoretical framework to the concept of identity deconstruction caused by slavery. Okoso, Yoshiko.

Elizabeth Ann Beaulieu, Ed. the Toni Morrison Encyclopedia. African American Review, 38, 1 (2004): 168-174. The article examines narrative style of Morrison stating that she prefers to neither explain everything, nor to provide solutions or to resolve every detail of the plot. Morrison’s works are filled with enigmatic, shifting and vibrant aspects being not merely an accompaniment, but a provider of essential background knowledge. Thus the article will be useful in analyzing the negative impact of slavery on sense of self and self-alienation and in providing in-depth examination of the author’s style and novel’s themes.

Parrish, Tony. Imagining Slavery: Toni Morrison and Charles Johnson. Studies in American Fiction, 25, 1 (1997): 81-86. The article compares and contrasts theme of slavery and identity deconstruction in the novels of Morrison and Johnson providing similarities and differences. It is stated that “Beloved” has similarities with Johnson’s slavery novels, because both authors offer negative meaning of slavery and explore African-American identity. The article will be used to describe how African-American identity is involved in the novel and how it continues to be created nowadays.

Further, the article gives the opportunity to examine Morrison’ philosophy. Rubenstein, Roberta. Singing the Blues: Toni Morrison and Cultural Mourning. Mosaic, 31, 2 (1998): 147-156. The article examines Morrison’s imagery of dismemberment and stating that it is “trope for the profound damages inflicted on African Americans by the emotional dismemberments of slavery and its aftermath”. Further, the article touches symbolic figures and transfiguration and provides links between emotional/psychological and aesthetic/cultural losses.

Therefore, the article will be used to examine novel’s symbolism and aesthetics as well as to define main novel’s motifs. West, Genevieve. Conner, Marc C. , Ed. the Aesthetics of Toni Morrison: Speaking the Unspeakable. Studies in the Novel, 35, 2 (2003): 272-275. The article examines the aesthetics of Morrison. The author provides the idea that Morrison has explicitly worked to distance herself from Western traditions in favor of situating her writings within an African-American cultural and aesthetic tradition.

Therefore, the article will be used to examine the aesthetics of “Beloved” and to develop two versions of the grotesque: emphasizing play, humor, and renewal; emphasizing alienation, estrangement, and terror. Works Cited Badt, Karin. The Roots of the Body in Toni Morrison: A Mater of “Ancient Properties”. Journal Title: African American Review, 29, 4 (1995): 567-576. Bennett, Juda. Toni Morrison and the Burden of the Passing Narrative. African American Review, 35, 2 (2001): 205-215. Drake, Kimberly. Toni Morrison: A Critical Companion. Contributors: Kimberly S. Drake – author. African American Review, 35, 2 (2001): 333-334.

Jones, Carolyn. “Sula” and “Beloved”: Images of Cain in the Novels of Toni Morrison. African American Review, 27, 4 (1993): 615-623. Okoso, Yoshiko. Elizabeth Ann Beaulieu, Ed. the Toni Morrison Encyclopedia. African American Review, 38, 1 (2004): 168-174. Parrish, Tony. Imagining Slavery: Toni Morrison and Charles Johnson. Studies in American Fiction, 25, 1, 81-86. Rubenstein, Roberta. Singing the Blues: Toni Morrison and Cultural Mourning. Mosaic, 31, 2 (1998): 147-156. West, Genevieve. Conner, Marc C. , Ed. the Aesthetics of Toni Morrison: Speaking the Unspeakable. Studies in the Novel, 35, 2 (2003): 272-275.

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