Beloved By Toni Morrison

Essay by brendetta January 2005

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Beloved by Toni Morrison, is a piercing novel of powerful images, of captivating tenderness and constant self-abasement. The conflict is centered around the revages caused by slavery in America, which prompts the protagonist, sethe, to flee the ironically named Kentucky plantation, Sweet Home, in search of a life of diginty and freedom in the free state of Ohio. This contemporary novel succeeds in proving the immense prower of the spirit, the power of the memory and the power of love.

The novel begins with an ironic situation. Sethe, an ex-slave, finds herself in a free state, yet she is far from being free. Her spirit is still linked to her past. Her every waking hour is filled with memories too painful to forget. The opening scene of the novel begings with Sethe remebering her dead baby. She is at 124, in Cincinnati, as she recalls that it(124 Bluestone Road) is full of baby's venom.

She ponders, "Who would have though that little baby could habor so much range?"

Beloved offers powerful images, one of which is color. There are reds, blues, greens, whites and even pink. There is the white dress with the unknown face spotted by Denver. There is teh piercing red light that causes Paul D to shudder before entering Sethe's house. There is the white stairway that leads uo to heaven, a world above the pain and suffering of "the below." Ther is the colorful quilt. These colors are symbolic of serenity and anger; they represent life. But an ex-slave could remember a colorless world; a world without life.

Beloved is not a world of right and wrong. It is a world of colors and immagination. it is not a racial statement, but a plea for personal self-examination. All races have been victimized by man's inhumanity...