The past is something that, without clinical illness, is impossible to forget. No matter how horrific or emotionally damaging, it cannot be changed. What we chose to do with this memory of the past will shape our future. This lesson is one of the most important themes in Toni Morison’s novel, Beloved.
History was not only a significant theme in the novel, but the book was also very historical itself. I had learned and educated myself very thoroughly on the issue of slavery before I read this novel. Reading this novel I felt as if I were experiencing slavery first hand. Morrison creates her characters and chooses her words so poetically it is impossible to not see the beauty of the way she portrays this historical event. “It is a meditation on history.” Says history professor Elsa Barkly Brown of Maryland University. Professor Ira Berlin continues, “The discipline of history is such that it limits the imagination. Morrison has an extraordinary imagination, an extraordinary ability to take us into the world of slavery and freedom. Beloved is an attempt to do something which no historian can do.” 2
Morrison also has a very creative and entertaining way of slowly revealing each characters past to the reader. The novel goes back and forth between the present and each of the characters pasts. At times it may get confusing to the reader, but it was not meant to be understood at all times. That left many spaces open for the reader to insert thei…
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…g. 256 Morrison,Toni. Beloved. New York: Penquin Books Inc., 1988.
2 Marcus, Brad. “Diamond Back.” Panel discusses Toni Morrison’s Beloved. 04 Dec. 1998. Diamond Back Newspaper . 18. Oct. 2001. .
3Pg. 95 Morrison,Toni. Beloved. New York: Penquin Books Inc., 1988.
4 Pg. 198 Morrison,Toni. Beloved. New York: Penquin Books Inc., 1988.
5 Robinson, Mary and Fulkerson, Kris. Cliffs Notes Morrison’s Beloved. Fster City: IDG Books Worldwide, Inc., .
6 Pg. 182 Morrison,Toni. Beloved. New York: Penquin Books Inc., 1988.
7 Pg. 243 Morrison,Toni. Beloved. New York: Penquin Books Inc., 1988.
8 Pg. 262 Morrison,Toni. Beloved. New York: Penquin Books Inc., 1988.
9 Pg. 266 Morrison,Toni. Beloved. New York: Penquin Books Inc., 1988.
Poe’s The Masque (Mask) of the Red Death as Fantastic Genre
The Mask of the Red Death as Fantastic Genre
American author Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849) wrote many poems and short stories back in the 1800s. Poe is said by some to have virtually created the detective story and perfected the psychological thriller. These works include “The Raven,” “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “The Fall of Usher House,” and “The Mask of the Red Death” (April 30, 1842). In the fantasy short story Poe uses certain magical elements that are not accepted by the reader as being real. Because these magical elements are not accepted by the reader as being real this story is an example of the Fantastic genre and not a part of Magical Realism, because in Magical Realism they unreal is accepted as real by both the reader and the characters in the story.
In “The Mask of the Red Death,” Edgar Allen Poe has the ability to evoke imagery and texualize the reader through the “extensive use of detail” (Faris 169). By doing so, I believe that Poe achieves textualization of the reader because we as human tend to use our imagination to help us see things that are there when they are described to us in great detail to us. By using this ability, it seems as though we are a part of the book and not just reading it. In the following passage, Poe describes the rooms that are in Prince Prospero’s abbey:
The eastern extremity was huge, for example, in blue- and vividly blue
were its windows. The second chamber was purple in its ornaments and
tapestries, and here the panes were purple. The third was green
throughout, and so were the casements. The fourth was furnished
and litten with orange- the fifth with white- the sixth with violet. (483)
After barely describing the fifth …
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…as real by both the reader and the characters in the story, this story still remains an example of the Fantastic Literature and not a part of Magical Realism because unreal is not accepted by the reader as being real.
Faris, Wendy B. “Scheherazade’s Children: Magical Realism and Postmodern Fiction.” Magical Realism: History, Theory, Community. Ed. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris. Durham, N.C.