Beloved by Toni Morrison

April 2, 2010
By Sam S. SILVER, Sterling, Virginia
Sam S. SILVER, Sterling, Virginia
6 articles 0 photos 0 comments

If you are looking for one of the most raw, blunt portrayals of African-American life in the antebellum period of American history, look no further than Toni Morrison’s Beloved.

That being said, Beloved is not for the faint-hearted. The novel confronts some of American literature’s favorite serious topics, including sex, murder, and, of course, the horrors of racism and slave-life. Morrison’s vivid descriptions often leave the reader haunted by the character’s emotional despondency, even more so when he or she realizes the reality of the situations.

The story follows the inhabitants of 124 Bluestone Road, mainly female protagonist Sethe, an escaped slave, and her lonely daughter Denver. The two are confronted with many visitors, including the optimistic Paul D, the well-intentioned Stamp Paid, and a young girl named Beloved with curious similarities to Sethe’s deceased daughter. Morrison focuses on the relationships between each character and their influences on one another, from Paul D’s attempts to integrate himself into Sethe and Denver’s family to the changes in emotional dynamics in the presence of the mysterious Beloved.

The most unique aspect of the book is Morrison’s writing style; a huge fan of Faulkner herself, Morrison uses his famous “train of thought” writing technique, constructing the story with events in no particular order, all of the main themes coming together in pieces as the novel progresses. Though confusing at parts, the writing becomes alluring to the reader, rewarding them with the satisfying “A-ha!” moment each time a new part of the plot suddenly makes sense in context. The reader almost becomes the character as they mentally ramble through pages worth of nothing but streams of consciousness, lulling him or her into a comfortable pattern of reading that becomes second nature and almost interactive.

Though the themes in the story clearly have a lasting emotional impact, Morrison’s Beloved is a thought-provoking novel in a class of its own. For both historical and literary value, it is a masterpiece definitely worth reading.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.

Parkland Book