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Toni Morrison’s Beloved – Symbol and Symbolism of Color

The symbolic Use of Color in Beloved

In the novel, Beloved, Toni Morrison uses color to show the reactions of some of the main characters. Color represents many things in the book. Freedom is an example because once the slaves were free, they noticed the beautiful colors all over. They see that the world is not just black and white and two different races, there are many beautiful things that were unnoticed. When Baby Suggs was free, she was able to spread happiness and joy to the community. When the community did not accept that, she fell into depression, but still enjoys freedom, in a different way, more by herself than with others. It was when she wanted to see bright colors. She loved color. In his journey to the north, Paul D. was told to follow the flowers. Flowers are known to be bright, beautiful plants. Many colors symbolize Paul D.’s trail to freedom. Morrison uses colors such as orange, lavender, and pink, in Beloved to represent the freedom. She uses red to represent death. Baby Suggs, Sethe, Denver, and Paul D all have had experiences where intense colors have either warned them or effected their lives forever.

Baby Suggs is a very inspirational character in Beloved. She has a very warm heart and she wants her family to enjoy their new freedom. They accepted her in the community around 124, until she is betrayed. She then falls in a deep depression. It is described by Morrison as, “Her past had been like her present-intolerable-and since she knew death was anything but forgiveness, she used the little energy left for pondering color.” (4) She always asked Sethe for lavender and pink. They are very bright and cheerfulness to her last days. The colors represented her indivi…

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…epresented the woman in Sethe’s past, and that made her feel complete again. She was also starting to enjoy her freedom of life for the first time. This was the only time Morrison made Sethe look happy and confident. This confidence did not last a long time for her, but she expressed it by using bright and cheerful colors in clothing and nature.

Bright and beautiful colors brought the family together in Beloved. It represents freedom and experiences that each of them shared together or apart. The color red is a symbol on death and evil in the book. Paul D. is one who received many “red” warnings at 124, before he realized the evil in the house. Paul D. is one who received many “red” warnings at 124, before he realized the evil that is contained in that house. In the novel, Beloved, Toni Morrison uses vibrant colors bring out the liveliness in 124.

Essay on Worth in Everyday Use

A Question of Worth in Everyday Use

From the fashionable, expensive clothing that the character Dee in Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” wears, the girl seems almost immediately to be a person of great value and importance. It may seem, too, at first glance, that Dee’s mother and sister, Maggie, in their tin-roof house and shabby clothing, are of little or no worth in “Everyday Use.” The story ironically shows, under more careful thought, that the very outer characteristics which deem Dee the more valuable character are the ones which prove that the mother and Maggie have the more powerful inner worth.

In the beginning of the story, Dee is portrayed to be more physically valuable than her mother and Maggie. Dee’s outfit reeks of a money-based society, much different from that of her heritage. Dee wears “A dress down to the ground…There are yellows and oranges enough to throw back the light of the sun. Earrings, too, gold and hanging down to her shoulders” (Walker 1151). Dee’s mother even reflects on her oldest daughter’s full figure and nice hair(1150). The mother and Maggie, on the other hand, are given an air of simplicity and unattractiveness. The mother is described as a large, big-boned man-worker whose usual attire consists of overalls and flannel nightgowns. Maggie, referred to as a “lame animal,” is thin and shabbily dressed(1150). From the vivid description of Dee and rather bland ones of the mother and Maggie, it may be readily assumed that Dee is of much higher extrinsic value than her family members.

Despite the outer attractiveness of Dee and unattractiveness of her mother and Maggie, the differences in the behavior of the groups indicate a turnaround in the presumed value judgments of the characters…

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… as well. The first glimpse of “Everyday Use” may suggest that Dee surpasses her mother and sister in value, but closer scrutiny of the work reveals that the mother and Maggie have just as much, if not more, merit than Dee.

Works Cited

Walker, Alice. “Everyday Use.” The Harper Anthology of Fiction. Ed. Sylvan Barnet. New York: HarperCollins, 1991. 1149.

Baker, Houston A., Jr. and Pierce-Baker, Charlotte. Short Story Criticism. Ed. Thomas Votteler. Vol. 5. Gale Research Inc.: Detroit, MI,1990. 402.

Mickelson, Anne Z. Short Story Criticism. Ed. Thomas Votteler. Vol. 5. Gale Research Inc.: Detroit, MI, 1990. 406.

Works Consulted

Matriz, Roger, ed. Contemporary Literary Criticism. Detroit, MI: Gale Research Inc., Vol. 5, 6, 9, 19, 27. 1991.

Draper, James P., ed. Black Literature Criticism. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, Inc., Vol. 3. 1992.

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