Toni Morison’s “Beloved” is a comprehensive account of the bitter experiences that African Americans endured during the period of slave trading and slavery, to exemplify reminiscences of the past, and how such history is important for realistically preparing and organizing for the future (Morrison 7). The aspect of recollection in the novel “Beloved” contributes to the intricate storyline and unusual character dynamics, verbalizing slavery as a phenomenon to both masculine and feminine viewers. Morrison, the author, primarily achieves to balance memory and the realities of slavery by not only championing the past but also efficiently highlighting the present occurrences that characterize the same. Indeed, the past and present remembrance creates a platform to unearth the hidden and ignored emotions as well as the forgotten experiences that are intrinsically bound to slavery. The eventual bond between the mother and her daughter in the “Beloved” is a profound hallmark of the lasting adverse effects of slavery, and hence Morrison challenges his audience to undergo meditation holistically. Moreover, the explanation of the past and present events in synchrony gives a historical meaning to the rest of the book about its application in modern day world, including the factor of heterosexual relationships (Morrison 75). Indeed, while discussing Morrison`s “Beloved,” it is not only essential to highlight “memory” as a literary device in this novel but also vital to demystify the claim that facing and accepting the past is vital in ensuring a livable present and future.
The author takes her audience along a complex trajectory of a literary expose, an adventurous path that allows her to set flashbacks and wrought memories to make meaning for the “Beloved.” Typically, Toni Morrison exploits the little known yet intriguing facts about her characters, to challenge the “Beloved`s” readers to recognize its essence in planning an important realization of the future. In fact, the author makes the element of memory to appear not only as the treacherous sense of humanity but also as one incapacitating emotional atmosphere of diversity. For instance, the person of Sethe undergoes an agonizing moment of self-imposed difficulties due to memory; hence her extremely insatiable obsession with what happened in the past, yet it haunts her in the present (Morrison 47). On the other hand, memory creates a background upon which Sethe develops a craving, desire, and intense emotions beyond consolation of her beloved ones, including her daughter (Morrison 75). Typically, while the “Beloved” is an expose of what memory plays in human life, it is beyond doubt that the person of Sethe speaks more to Morrison`s characters than any emotional and thoughtful experience the author wished to have put across.
Indeed, learning of the past and appreciating what happened is essential for ensuring a livable present and future as witnessed in Morrison`s the “Beloved.” The memories and images painted during slavery are a haunting scene that adversely confronts the emotional and psychological sobriety of not only those who experienced the unbecoming era but even those who read, wittiness, or heard about it (Pass 119). Because Morrison is capable of reconstructing the memories of the slave era, she can create a physical platform upon which her audience shares and thereby literary become partakers of the very binding history of thought and emotions. Typically, on the one hand, Morrison appreciates that what happened in the past was inhuman and is highly condemned. On the author, Morrison is of the opinion that despite the distressful atmosphere that characterized slavery, people have to move on and make the present better, so that a future free of the sequel of past historical injustices is not once again experienced (Morrison 131). Consequently, because past events could be too haunting to forget, and they cannot be changed into a better estate either, it is only imperative to learn from the challenging past and such disappointment hue a future of hope founded on a rational present, a theme that conspicuously stands out in Morrison`s the “Beloved”.
The scenes and character experiences across the book to a great extent explain why Morrison concludes the novel with the remarkable statement, “This is not a story to pass on?” (Morrison 324). The suffering and struggle of Sethe in the book is a symbolic manifestation of how flashback and memories afflicted not only those who went through the intimidating past as individuals but the society as a whole. In essence, the memory and experience of those affected by the past are both complex and haunting, yet Sethe sets an exemplary background for facing the future in an optimistic manner (Morrison 83). On the contrary, if not handled critically, memory could easily turn out to be a struggle against the self, and hence a stumbling block to face a hopeful future. With memories comes an individualized perception of the past events, whose outcome has a thin line separating reality and falsehood, which could either make the present formidable or less promising respectively. In this light, the author makes the situation Sethe is in to reflect the reality that the past can be positively overcome, and that memory is a lethal tool of self-destruction, an internal struggle against the power that is not worth to fight for. Consequently, for people to survive and make it in life, each individual has to appreciate the past and learn how to carefully integrate the same with acceptance of the present, despite the difficulties that come with such and foster a realistic future without bitterness. The connection of memory to realize the past and link it to the present is a journey that Morrison`s audience enjoys along the trajectory of Sethe`s life, and hence readers of the “Beloved” can recognize the humble beginning of Sethe as a mere woman into her sophistication as a human person (Morrison 89). Therefore, Morrison uses the element of memory to depict the historical injustices in America, but from this experience challenges her readers to embrace change and value the present despite the bitter history for the sake of a holistic and better future.
Morrison, Toni. “Beloved – Toni Morrison – Google Books.” 2014: 1–352. Web.
Pass, Olivia McNeely. “Toni Morrison’s Beloved: A Journey through the Pain of Grief.” Journal of Medical Humanities 27.2 (2006): 117–124. Web.