Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”


This is a phenominal book.  Albeit very confusing the first read. Beloved is one of those books that you have to read the first time through utterly confused and lost, then the necessary second time through, you think, “Why on earth did this make absolutely no sense before?”  The third read is even better.

Beloved requires a lot of speculation and attention. It’s not a bedtime story. It does contain some adult themes, but that’s only natural – it’s a story about slavery.

“When slavery has torn apart one’s heritage, when the past is more real than the present, when the rage of a dead baby can literally rock a house, then the traditional novel is no longer an adequate instrument. And so Pulitzer Prize-winner Beloved is written in bits and images, smashed like a mirror on the floor and left for the reader to put together. In a novel that is hypnotic, beautiful, and elusive, Toni Morrison portrays the lives of Sethe, an escaped slave and mother, and those around her. There is Sixo, who “stopped speaking English because there was no future in it,” and …. Baby Suggs, who makes her living with her heart because slavery “had busted her legs, back, head, eyes, hands, kidneys, womb and tongue;” and Paul D, a man with a rusted metal box for a heart and a presence that allows women to cry. At the center is Sethe, whose story makes us think and think again about what we mean when we say we love our children or freedom. The stories circle, swim dreamily to the surface, and are suddenly clear and horrifying. Because of the extraordinary, experimental style as well as the intensity of the subject matter, what we learn from them touches at a level deeper than understanding.”  (

The Stream-of-consciousness section is even more baffling than te rest of the book. But if you read it with the Middle Passage in mind, it helps a lot. 

I highly reccomend this book. If any of you read it and have questions (which I know you WILL), I’ll be happy to help you understand it! Email me at shutterbug926 [at] gmail [dot] com. I love this book. I adore it.  I wrote ALL over my copy, highlighted, speculations in the margins, everything.  =]