Beloved Flashcards Preview

Narrative Texts > Beloved > Flashcards

Flashcards in Beloved Deck (15)
Loading flashcards...

Linda Koolish critic

In Beloved there is a "struggle for psychic wholeness... which requires access to painful memories"


first lines of book

"124 was spiteful. full of a babies venom"

paradoxical. book opens in a place haunted by pain. announces theme of trauma and repressed mourning. media res: continuation of trauma. in the middle of it.


"sweet home"

ironic name for a place with holds traumatic memories. spaces, literal and figurative, which store traumatic memories.. geographical reality which has psychological significance. a literal, material place.


personification of 124

I- ts "aliveness". house is granted an identity - personified. has tyrannical attributes which make its inhabitants fearful. seethes's attribution of the haunting to "a baby ghost". her inability to perceive the haunting as a relating to herself. missing 3 like her third child.
- Denver regards the house "as she always did, as a person rather than a structure. A person that wept, sighed, trembled and fell into fits." - the house as a space of setae's trauma. denver recognises it as being because of the mother when she sees dress clinging to Sethe. it is her rememory.



"the uncanny" - haunted house as a metaphor for seethes trauma. the return of her most dreaded secrete, traumatic memory, repressed by sethe but remembered by the house. the "uncanny" is an aestetic dimension, a projection of a mental state. home is invested with uncanny qualities. as fraud puts it: both "homliness" and "unhomely" - transition from comfort to terror.


tabacco tin

"a tabacco tin lodged in his chest"
-figurative for his psyche. stores traumas and shuts away desires. "flakes of rust" begin to fall. his initial reaction when faced with trauma is to respond with violence.


black woman as parent

"black woman as a parent... a culture-bearer, in that community with not just her children, but all children"

morrison like the black parent. she hypothesises and embarks on a process of rememory through writing beloved, based on Maragret Gardener. sense of community


T.S Eliot on past

history in a text gives us "perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence" rememory.


newspaper Cincinnati Enquirer

In January 1856, The newspaper Cincinnati Enquirer reported the story of Margaret Garner’s murderthis particular slave was “a good-looking, hearty negress” (‘stampede of slaves: A tale of Horror!’, the Cincinnati enquirer).
objectification of the female, maternal slave. In this article, Garner’s “good-looking” appearance is presented as her the only valid alibi in the voyeuristic eye of the white journalist. Being bodily attractive, she became valuable.


profit from their sex

masters “rented their sex out on other farms” (165), thus reducing the maternal body to a commercial tool


seth's mother and her babies.

Nes tells Sethe in Beloved that her mother, after being repeatedly raped, “threw them [her babies] all away but you. The one from the crew she threw away on the island. The others from more whites she also threw away… you she gave the name of the black man. She put her arms around him”. (74) - utterance of bathetic affection at end.

By objectifying the maternal body, the mother-child relationship is distorted due to the experiences of the mother being raped by the white man. ultimately her fertility and pregnancy becomes a symbol of her trauma, and thus the child, the product of the rape, is likewise tainted with this projection.


clipped dialogue between sethe and Paul D

Sethe’s pregnant body: “they used cowhide on you” / “and they took my milk” / “they beat you and you was pregnant” / “and they took my milk!”(20).

The repetitive paralleling of “they” “my” and “you” draws attention to the corrupted values of possession in colonial America, as the anonymous “they” held more possession over Sethe’s body than she did, being black and female.


Marianne Hirsch

. Marianne Hirsch : “In this economy in which even one’s own body is not one’s property, the white masters can rob seethe of everything including her mother’s milk. Her maternal labour is supposed to be theirs, not hers or her childrens; She needs to devise a discourse of resistance to assert her own maternal knowledge: “all I knew was I had to get my milk to my baby girl. Nobody was going to nurse her like me” (p16, Maternity and Rememory: Toni Morrison’s Beloved).

What Hirst makes explicit here is how despite the robbery of self-ownership, and the ownership of her children, Sethe cannot repress the maternal instinct in her which dominates the threat of violence from her masters. Despite being whipped with “cowshide” and “beaten”, it is the robbery of her milk that repetitively haunts Sethe, as it does the narrative, through the way it restricts her most instinctive impulses.


baby suggs recognising her children

Baby Suggs explains that “it wasn’t worth the trouble to try and learn features [of her babies] you would never see change into adulthood. Seven times she had done that”. (163). The pain felt by Suggs after attempting seven times to recognise
another’s property. Morrison sympathetically recalls the “dimple”, “cleft” and “lisp” of Slugg’s children, the minuscule details only a mother would cherish. ironically, she evidently can remember them. every small detail.


Beloved asking sethe if her mother fixed her hair

embittered tone “she never fixed my hair not nothing. She didn’t’even sleep in the same cabin as me” (72). before it was "if i did, i dont remember"
Her change in tone shows the dislocation felt by Sethe towards her