The Cost Of Repressed Memories In Toni Morrison's Beloved

1430 Words6 Pages
Mallaika Tomar
Ms. Lauren Karp
AP English Literature
13 November 2017
The Cost of Repressed Memories through the Lense of Slavery Repression of memories is a psychological concept that has haunted modern psychology for years. Repression of memories also known as “rememory” defined by the mind pushing away traumatic or shocking experiences into a dark corner of a person’s unconscious. As this idea developed and began to be studied more thoroughly, slavery became an institution in which researchers saw promise in drawing conclusions about the dangers of repressing memories. In Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved, the character narratives of Paul D and Sethe exemplify the dangers of repressing memories. Both disconnect from and push away unwanted emotional traumas or experiences from their past. However, this effort doesn’t pay off and their repression of memories is not successful. Through the use of symbols such as Paul D’s tobacco tin and Sethe’s scars and lost child, Morrison demonstrates how repression of the past isn’t effective and how it always comes back to haunt a person who doesn’t correctly cope with their trauma. Paul D and Sethe live unfulfilled lives as a result of repressed memories. More often than not, Beloved, as a complete text is seen as a novel that demonstrates the probable damage of repressing memories. By using symbols like a tobacco tin, Morrison is able to demonstrate how the repression of traumatic memories is ineffective in living a full life. One

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