Love and Trauma: Exploring Magical Realism in Toni Morrison´s Beloved

843 WordsFeb 4, 20183 Pages
Toni Morrison uses a variety of literary techniques in the novel Beloved, however, the most dominant technique is that of magical realism. The term magical realism was created in the early twentieth century, originally to describe a new style in German painting, but later applied to Latin American fiction (Faris 1). This technique blends realistic narrative with supernatural elements in such a way the reader does not question the impossibility of these events. Magical realism is used in this novel to enhance three major concepts: the concept of love, the destructive impact of slavery, and the impact of traumatic memory on the human psyche. The novel is written using nonlinear narrative style to tell the story of Sethe, an escaped slave woman, who is literally haunted by her past after she attempts to kill all of her children with a hacksaw. Sethe succeeds only in murdering her baby daughter, Beloved; however, the ghost of Beloved haunts Sethe’s home until Paul D, a friend from the plantation, arrives unexpectedly and successfully exorcises the spirit. Later, when a young woman baring the name Beloved physically appears in the lives of Sethe, Paul D, and Sethe’s other daughter Denver, magical realism enables the reader to recognize that this woman is the reincarnation of Sethe’s murdered daughter who has returned as an adult. Beloved appears to be frail and vulnerable in the beginning, but proves to be powerful and malicious and in the end. Not only does the use of

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