Use of the Female Gothic in Beloved Essay

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Use of the Female Gothic in Beloved

Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved is a slave narrative, but it encompasses much more than slavery. Unlike many slave narratives that focus on the male perception of slavery, Morrison's novel portrays slavery from a feminine point of view. The main characters are Sethe, her daughter, Denver, and the mysterious Beloved. In the beginning of the novel, Sethe and her daughter live alone in 124, a house that is haunted by the ghost of Sethe's first daughter. Sethe's two older boys, "Howard and Buglar, had run away by the time they were thirteen years old. Soon after the sons have fled, Baby Suggs, Denver's grandmother, dies. The novel centers on Sethe's past, in particular, the death of her
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She describes what little of a relationship she had with her mother, saying that she was gone before Sethe woke up and when she was not working, she was sleeping. She describes a particularly saddening moment when her mother showed her how to identify her; "she opened up her dress front and lifted her breast and pointed under it. Right on her rib was a circle and a cross burnt right into the skin" (Morrison 57). The young Sethe, confused about the situation, receives a slap from her mother when she says that she wants a mark too. The reader recognizes the lack of humanity in slavery. Like a cow, she is branded and her brand is the only way to recognize her as an individual. It is a terrible realization, one Sethe makes later on. It was Sethe's experience as a slave child and a slave mother that caused her to commit the act that is every parent's worst nightmare. Another event that seemed to change Sethe forever was the brutal attack committed upon her by schoolteacher's nephews. Schoolteacher came to take care of the plantation when Mr. Garner, the original owner, died. She was still nursing her first daughter when it happened. When she is relating the story, her attitude reveals the sense of violation and humility she felt when this vicious act was committed; "those boys came in there and took my milk. That's what they came in there for. Held me down and took it" (Morrison 16). She described this horrible
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