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The monster in the dark: the monstrous maternal and abject black mother in Toni Morrison's Beloved

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posted on 2021-05-22, 15:15 authored by Nikta Sadati

[Introduction]: "Toni Morrison’s Beloved (1987) is centred on Sethe, a mother and an escaped slave.Through a non-linear narrative, the novel follows Sethe through her traumatizing memories of Sweet Home–the plantation in which she was a slave–as well as I24, her new home after her escape. Set in 1856 pre-abolition America, Beloved follows the aftermath of Sethe’s murder of her baby, Beloved, and the haunting of I24 by Beloved’s ghost. Sethe’s infanticide is revealed to the reader through a series of memories and stories from different neighbours of I24 and acquaintances of Sethe. Sethe is presented as a monstrous mother as she appears to her family and neighbours as detached from her maternal love and kinship. Throughout this essay, the research questions I will answer are the following: Who defines motherhood? How is grief exercised by a subject who is made abject? How is the concept of the monstrous maternal rooted in racial oppression Sethe’s murder of her child is seen as a cold and irrational act of violence; however, Beloved’s representation of black motherhood and slavery serves to complicate the narrative of the monstrous maternal."

History

Language

eng

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Literatures of Modernity

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

MRP

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