Toni Morrison's Beloved

Published in 1982 Toni Morrison's Beloved, is one of the most celebrated works of American literature. The story delves deep into the live of an African-American family, set shortly after the Civil War. The story revolves around Sethe, a runaway slave from a plantation in Kentucky, called Sweet Home. Sethe gave birth to three children while on the plantation, including Beloved, the character for whom the book is named.

After the plantation owner dies, Sethe and her husband are at the mercy of a new master, nicknamed, Schoolteacher. Schoolteacher and his nephews prove to be cruel and merciless man. Planning to escape, Sethe sends her three children ahead to Cincinnati Ohio, the home of her husband's mother, Baby Suggs. After schoolteachers' nephews molest her, a heavily pregnant Sethe escapes into freedom by herself.

After almost dying, by the side of the road, Sethe is discovered by a white woman named Amy who helps her deliver her baby. In gratitude, Sethe names her youngest daughter Denver, which is the last name of Amy.

Sethe safely makes it to her mother in laws home. After 28 days had passed schoolteacher shows up with officers to take Sethe and her children back to the plantation. Under the rights of the Fugitive Slave Bill, a slave owner can track a runaway slave into northern states and return them to captivity.

Rather then allow her children to live lives as slaves, Sethe decides to kill them all. She kills Beloved, by slicing her neck with a handsaw, only the intervention of others, saves the lives of her other three children.

In the present setting, eighteen years have past and Denver is now an isolated 18 year old, living with her mother. Baby Suggs, has now passed on and Denver and Sethe, live in the house with the ghost of Sethe's murdered eldest daughter. Sethe's two sons, terrified of the supernatural happening in the home, ran off shortly after their grandmothers' death. The neighbors know the house is haunted and avoid it; Denver has no friends except the ghost in her home.

One day, Paul D, another slave from the Sweet Home plantation, comes back into Sethe's life and the two falls in love, he even seems to scare off the ghost for a while. Then Sethe's dead daughter, Beloved, shows up in the flesh, and her presence sends Sethe into guilt and madness over the crime she has committed, and shakes up the lives of Denver and Paul D in surprising ways.

Beloved has been constantly celebrated and admired by critics and won a Pulitzer Prize in Literature in 1983. The New York Times included Beloved on its list of All-Time 100 Novels. In 2006, the magazine also named the novel as the best work of American fiction of the last 25 years. In 1985, the novel was adapted into a film starring and produced by Oprah Winfrey.

Beloved (film) Wikipedia
Beloved (novel) Wikipedia
Homework Online
Toni Morrison Reads from Beloved
Cliffs Notes  
Random House

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