Use Of Figurative Language In Toni Morrison's Beloved?

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Famous novelist Margaret Atwood reviewed Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved for the New York Times in 1987, the same year in which Morrison wrote the book. In her review, Atwood praises Morrison for her ability to communicate visceral emotion through her writing (Atwood). Indeed, one of the markers of Morrison’s distinctive and brilliant writing style is her ability to induce empathetic and even cathartic reactions in her audience simply through her powerful use of figurative language and rhetorical devices. Throughout the review, Atwood summarizes the general storyline of the novel while also focusing on various thematic elements. Almost immediately, Atwood hones in on Sethe’s sexual exchange with the tombstone engraver as a means to “pay” for him to engrave “Beloved” on her baby’s tombstone. Atwood connects this act to the novel’s overall depiction of humans as a commodity to be bought and sold (Atwood). History has documented the horrors of humans being treated as merchandise through the institution of slavery; however, in Beloved, Morrison invites her…show more content…
Atwood emphasizes how Morrison portrays the supernatural elements in Beloved not in a ghoulish Amityville Horror way but instead with great practicality, much like the ghost of Catherine Earnshaw in Wuthering Heights (Atwood). While the practicality of the supernatural elements of Beloved certainly exist to its characters and within the world of the novel, a foreboding, ominous atmosphere emerges for the reader, contrasting the mundane manner in which the characters treat their otherworldly counterparts. Arguably, Morrison’s depiction of the supernatural in Beloved fits within the constraints of genre of magic realism, based on how Morrison portrays fantastical concepts in an otherwise real world. Atwood also later describes how Morrison’s anti minimalist prose gives authority to the novel’s supernatural aspects

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