Get help from the best in academic writing.

slaverybel Impact of Slavery in Toni Morrison’s Beloved

Impact of Slavery on the Individual Exposed in Beloved

In her novel, Beloved, Toni Morrison conveys her strong feelings about slavery. One of the major themes throughout the book is the impact that slavery has on the

individual. Morrison utilizes the characters Mr. Garner and Schoolteacher to illustrate how slavery affects everyone in a different way.

Though Morrison portrays Mr. Garner as the more humane master, in actuality he is no different then Schoolteacher, because ultimately they are both slave owners. Morrison includes the character, Mr. Garner, to show that even if you allow your slaves to do certain activities, you are still a displeasing human being because you are a slave owner. Garner allowed his slaves to choose wives, handle guns, learn to read and even purchase a mother’s freedom. Garner let Halle buy his mother, Baby Suggs’ freedom, but as Halle points out to Sethe , his wife, ” If he hadn’t of, she would of dropped in his cooking stove…I pay him for her last years and in return he got you, me and three more coming up” ( Morrison, 195-96). Garner allowed for one slave’s freedom, but received stronger, younger slaves in her place, which in his mind made him the victor of the deal.

Schoolteacher on the other hand treated his slaves without any respect because he did not believe they deserved any. He use to measure them with string as if they were animals and ask them foolish questions in order to conduct research. He also involved his nephews in these dehumanizing acts by persuading them to physically abuse the slaves, while he watched. At one point in the book, the narrator discusses Schoolteacher’s views on how Garner ran the plantation, ” the spoiling these p…

… middle of paper …

…th a degree of trust and respect he was still a slave owner and that had definite effects on his slaves. Yes, Schoolteacher had a more devastating effect on his slaves because he held absolutely no respect or compassion for any of his slaves, but these two characters were not very different. As Halle says, “What they say is the same. Loud or soft” (Morrison, 195). Halle sums it up perfectly, it did not matter that they treated their slaves differently, because in the end, they both owned people. And those people were permanently effected by being owned and what their owners, nice or not, did to them.

Works Cited

Kubitschek, M.D. Toni Morrison : A Critical Companion. London: Greenwood Press, 1998.

Morrison, Tony. Beloved. New York: Penguin Books, 1987.

Maternal Bond in Toni Morrison’s Beloved

Maternal Bond in Toni Morrison’s Beloved

The maternal bond between mother and kin is valued and important in all cultures. Mothers and children are linked together and joined: physically, by womb and breast; and emotionally, by a sense of self and possession. Once that bond is established, a mother will do anything for her child. In the novel Beloved, the author, Toni Morrison, describes a woman, Sethe, who’s bond is so strong she goes to great lengths to keep her children safe and protected from the evil that she knows. She gave them the gift of life, then, adding to that, the joy of freedom. Determined to shield them from the hell of slavery, she took drastic measures to keep them from that life. But, in doing so, the bond that was her strength became her weakness, destroying the only thing she loved.

Slaves, in the United States, were denied everything — all forms of identifying with the human race. They were denied their freedom of life: the very right to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of nature in the world, it not being theirs to enjoy. Additionally, they were denied the very way in which all humans identify themselves — through the influence of others. They were disallowed community and harmony among their peoples. Children were taken from their mothers, and brothers from their sisters. Dr. Kubitcheck says, ?Another crucial part of identity and culture, language, also has been lost to the slaves? (126). Individual slaves were often placed on plantations with other slaves from different parts of Africa, speaking completely different languages, and thus having no way of communication between them. ?Symbolically,? Kubitcheck says, ?slavery . . . obliterated African identity? (126). Because…

… middle of paper …

…ing – the part of her that was clean? (251). Sethe?s ?commitment to her children remains unshakable,? Kubitcheck says (123). Though her actions were appalling and disgraceful according to the community, it was done with a sense of love and protection, so as not to break the maternal bond.

The bond between a mother and her child is beyond the grasp of words. Toni Morrison, in Beloved, tries to take hold of it. Creating a character who is so consumed by her children being a measure of her worth, Morrison shows the strength of the maternal bond. It is that which has the power to love something or someone with all one?s heart. It is that love which, giving life, is strong enough to kill.

Works Cited

1. Kubitcheck, MD. Toni Morrison: A Critical Companion. London: Greenwood Press, 1998.

2. Morrison, Toni. Beloved. New York: Plume, 1987.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.