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Essay on Toni Morrison’s Beloved – The Character of Mr. Garner

The Character of Mr. Garner in Beloved

In the book Beloved, Toni Morrison uses the Character Mr. Garner to convey the different forms of slave owners. Although some seem that they are more considerate than others, they are all are still slave owners, and they are all cruel. Mr. Garner is a very insecure man with a lot of power. As a result of his insecurity, he feels that he has to prove his intelligence by the misuse of superiority. He proves his superiority by making the slaves feel that he is the superior to them. Due to Mr. Garners insecurity he makes his slaves believe that he is the most powerful man, and that they can not survive with out him. Mr. Garner compensates for his insecurities about his manliness by treating his slaves less than men.

Garner tries to convince everyone in the town including himself, that he has the most valued slaves because he is the one who raised them. When he is town, talking to some other slave owners he was bragging about how, “y’all got boys…Now at sweet home, my niggers is men every one of em. Bought em that away, raised em thataway. Men every one” (Morrison p.10). To make up for his insecurities, he has to go around proving to everyone that he is the best at what he does, and that is why his slaves are men. The others slave owners believe that since the slaves are black, that is why they are not men. Garner believes since he raised his slaves, and since they only did what he allowed them to do, that are men. He considers himself the smart man of the group. But, by controlling his slaves, he makes them less like men. He thought that if you could call you own niggers men that, it makes you more of a man, “But if you a man yourself, you’ll want your niggers to be men too”(Morrison p.10). He does everything to prove to himself, that he in fact, is the man that is in control of the whole situation. Actually he is trying to make up for his insecurities by bragging to the other slave owners.

In Garners mind, to have his niggers to be considered men, he believes that he has to orchestrate all of their decisions. Pertaining to what they are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to do in daily matters.

Susan Glaspell’s Trifles – Some Observations


I would like to make three major points.

Major #1: Since this is the first play we’ve read, the stage direction really caught my eye and I tended to consider it very seriously in determining the meaning of the work. The most obvious direction, which the essay by Parrish discusses, is that neither Mr. nor Mrs. Wright ever appear in the play, and Glaspell was the first to use this type of direction (which was later recognized as uniquely her own.) Other important examples of the play’s direction (not spoken lines) are:
( … she is disturbed now and looks fearfully about as she enters.)
(Stops, his face twitches.)
In a manner of returning to familiar things.) Glaspell uses this direction several times.
(Silence; then as if struck by a happy thought and relieved to get back to everyday things.)
(Mrs. Hale glances in a covert way at Mrs. Peters.)
(Pulling herself back.) this is an emotional direction, not a physical one
Glaspell’s decision to present “Trifles” as a play instead of its short story original form (titled :”A Jury of Her Peers) gives the reader an opportunity to “see” the action better than usual, and therefore get a clearer understanding of the author’s meaning.

Major #2: What is the significance of “preserves?” I see the literal meaning, but what is Glaspell saying about a woman’s act of preserving things? The action in the play keeps going back to this jar of preserves (example: if the jar gets too cold, it breaks; preserves make a sticky mess; they don’t want to let Minnie know the jars broke and are not preserved.)

Major #3: Does anyone know about quilting? I’m looking for more specific information on knotting vs. quilting? I think Glaspell is using this craft (and it is a way of expression like writing and painting) very subtly to get her message across, but I don’t have enough information to see it, although I do see the significance of knotting and the knot around Mr. Wright’s neck that killed him. Can anyone help?

Parrish writes in her essay that Glaspell wrote and produced many plays, and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1931. It is interesting and meaningful to read drama because it finds yet another way for women to find and express their voices. Parrish states that Glaspell’s writing focused on women’s “desire for equality and acknowledgement in a “man’s world.

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