Color as a Symbol and Symbolism in Toni Morrison's Beloved Essay

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Use of Color as a Symbol in Beloved

In Beloved, Toni Morrison portrays the barbarity and cruelty of slavery. She emphasizes the African American’s desire for a new life as they try to escape their past while claiming their freedom and creating a sense of community. In Beloved, "Much of the characters’ pain occurs as they reconstruct themselves, their families, and their communities after the devastation of slavery" (Kubitschek 115). Throughout the novel, Morrison uses color to symbolically represent a life complete with happiness, freedom, and safety, as well as involvement in community and family. In many scenes, Morrison uses color to convey a character's desire for such a life; while, in other instances, Morrison
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She did not experience independence, freedom, safety nor a sense of community when she was a slave. However, after she was sold, she searched for color, or the life that she had wanted. For, “she had never had time to see, let alone enjoy it before” (Morrison 201). Enjoying every color that she could, trying to compensate for the time wasted as a slave, Suggs retreated to her room and concentrated on color. It “took her a long time to finish with blue, then yellow then green” (Morrison 201). Making explicit the absence of color while Suggs was a slave and then describing the way she relished the colors of her newly acquired freedom, Morrison conveys Suggs’s fulfillment of the life she had longed to have when she was a slave. Finally, as her life ended, Suggs was happy with the freedom, sense of community and family that she had achieved. Although Suggs lives this free-life for a period of time, eventually her family, community and sense of happiness fall apart. Before Suggs threw a party to celebrate her united family and new found happiness, she was venerated by the black community. Suggs was safe, free and thankful for her present life. After her celebration feast, when “Sethe was in jail with her nursing baby...[and] her sons were holding hands in the yard, terrified of letting go,” Baby Suggs “just up and quit” (Morrison 177). Her life was falling