Toni Morrison 's Beloved Are All Too Familiar With Inequality

1285 Words Aug 14th, 2016 6 Pages
Novelist William Dean Howells once lamented, “Inequality is as dear to the American heart as liberty itself” (Popik). Unfortunately, the characters in Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved are all too familiar with inequality. Beloved is set after the American Civil War. Sethe, a runaway slave, begins on the journey to escape Kentucky’s slavery, and arrives in the free city of Cincinnati, Ohio. Confronted by slave-catchers, she murders her third born to protect it from a fate Sethe considers worse than death: slavery. The spirit of the dead daughter haunts the house in which Sethe, her mother-in-law Baby Suggs, and the remaining three children reside. Only Sethe, her youngest daughter Denver, and the spirit remain after the two eldest children depart and Baby Suggs dies. They receive a long-time friend of Sethe’s as a guest, Paul D., who forces the spirit out. A flesh-and-bone reincarnation of the ghost, who calls herself Beloved, the name on Sethe’s dead daughter’s headstone, arrives at the house. Paul D. learns about Sethe’s past and leaves the broken family. Sethe grants Beloved’s every wish, and Denver is essentially ignored. Denver finally reaches out for help to end the toxic cycle, and the black community responds with abundant support, food, and work for Denver. Beloved eventually disappears, and Paul D. returns to Sethe. Instances of inequality and racial discrimination are common throughout the course of the novel and human history. The black community,…
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