Beloved – Name Of The Novel
Tono Morrison – Author
Historical fiction, Magical Realism – Genre
Where To buy
On the edge of Cincinnati, in 1873, 8 years after the end of the Civil War, there is a house numbered 124 that is haunted by the presence of a dead child. A former slave named Sethe has lived in the house, with its ghost, for 18 years. Sethe lives at 124 with her daughter Denver. Her mother-in-law, Baby Suggs, died eight years previously after Sethe’s two sons, Howard and Buglar, ran away from the haunted home. While three of her children survive, one does not. That child, a toddler at the time, continues to haunt sethe and her household.
Morrison’s writing is lyrical and offers many lines of truth and beauty, and she masterfully captures the place, time, and people of which she writes. Her dialogue is incomparable.
Slavery is the novel’s core theme and plays a critical role in the lives of each character. Slavery also caused devastating emotional and psychological wounds in the slaves. By delving into the consciousness of slaves and former slaves, Morrison exposes slavery’s crippling legacy beyond its physical impact.
Beloved is split into three major sections and each of these sections begins not with any description of a character, but with a short sentence describing Sethe’s house: “124 was spiteful.” Then, “124 was loud.” And finally, “124 was quiet.” As 124 is haunted, it seems to have a mind of its own and is almost the character of the novel in its own right.
The past does not simply go away in but continues to exert influence in the present in a number of ways. One of the ways in which memories live on is through storytelling. The novel explores the value but also the danger of storytelling. She also writes of the love of a mother for her children, and the terrible choice that Sethe makes for her own.
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