THe Novel Beloved by Toni Morrison Essay

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Toni Morrison’s 1987 novel Beloved is a ghost story. There’s a literal ghost who haunts the characters from the book, but at the same time, the novel is about the ghosts of the past that have haunted the entire country since the days of slavery.[perceptive] Set a few years after slavery ended, and based on a true story, Beloved tells the story of a former slave named Sethe who has settled in Ohio with her three children. But when her house begins to be haunted by the ghost of a young woman, the past comes back to remind her of a painful past [Good] Sethe believes that the ghost is the spirit of Beloved, her oldest child who she escaped from slavery with years ago. When she and her family were found by the plantation…show more content…
Paul D and most of the other black characters are damaged people with personalities that have never recovered from being held in slavery. The women of the community where Sethe lives with Denver are often harsh and unforgiving with her. They know that she killed her child, but they don’t seem to be very forgiving about why she did it. They are left damaged, but not able to understand the damage done to others, the desperation it caused in them or the guilt it left in them. They aren’t evil though, which shows in the way in which they eventually rally around Sethe to exorcise the ghost of Beloved. Like many of the characters in the novel, their damage makes them flawed, but they are too complex to be simple heroes or villains. This building of complex characters is one of the best parts of the novel. A few characters in the novel, especially the Schoolteacher and his nephews, are pure evil, but most are more nuanced. Mr. and Mrs. Gardner, though they are slave-owners, are just about as kindly as anyone in that line of work could be expected to be. Paul D cheats on Sethe more than once, but in the end he stays by her side. Sethe’s neighbors reject her, but come back to help her when it really matters. Even Sethe herself commits acts of violence – against her daughter, and again when she attacks the well-meaning Mr. Bodwin with an icepick – but she is a decent woman who’s been driven half-crazy by the terrible things
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