Beloved Essay, Toni Morrison

2111 Words9 Pages
Freeman McLean
April 22, 2014
ENGL 112.003

African-American Communities in Beloved

Thesis: Toni Morrison focuses on negative impact of slavery on the well-being of African American communities throughout her novel Beloved by depicting the damage done, its effects on individual characters, and the renewal of community.

1. The enforcement of slavery has destroyed black communities and families 1. Families throughout Beloved were split due to slavery 2. The community of 124 abandons its members 1. Characters are negatively impacted by the lack of community 1. The deeds and traits of Six-o compared to the rest of the men living at Sweet Home 2. Denver and Sethe’s lack of identity due to a lacking
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Stamp Paid confronted the wickedness of having a fellow black live in a empty lonesome cellar, another example of the pain the community inflicts upon itself. They not only alienate Sethe and her family, but Paul D for having relations with them. The community “was longing for Sethe to come on difficult times” (155 Hinson), and Paul D was only another target for the community’s anger. Hajer Ayadi theorizes here that instead of taking care of a fellow ex-slave Paul D, the community once again “fails to perform its role” (Ayadi, 265).

Slavery destroyed African American communities, specifically Bluestone, and the damage is evident when Sethe takes Beloved’s life. The circumstances leading to the event is most important however. When Sethe arrived at Bluestone “all mashed up and split open” carrying newborn Beloved, Stamp Paid sets out to collect to bucket fulls of blackberries (Morrison, 159). Sethe matches the buckets of fruit with chickens, fish, turkeys, and a list of other items. The community quickly grows malice towards Baby Suggs’ grand display of wealth. “Too much, they thought. Where does she get it all...It made them furious” (Morrison, 161). The community was envious of how well Baby Suggs was doing. For Baby Suggs to have so much “were His [God’s] powers- they did not belong to an ex-slave who had probably never carried one hundred pounds to the scale…lashed by a ten-year-old whiteboy as God knows they
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