Toni Morrison is an author that I’ve always wanted to read, although a lot of people have told me that her books are tough slogs. To be honest Beloved was frustrating in places but I definitely will not call it difficult reading. I can now see why she is so revered and studied.
Beloved takes place in the mid 18oo’s , and the novel opens up with Seethe and her daughter, Denver alone in house 124, which haunted by Seethe’s dead child. After a bit Paul D comes over to visit. We sort of find out that both Seethe and Paul were on the same plantation, called Sweet Home. Together they share memories of their slave ridden past. In order to wipe out bad memories, Paul takes Seethe and Denver to a carnival.
When they all return, they find a girl (called Beloved) Denver’s age on a stump and Seethe adopts her, thinking that she’s the ghost of her dead daughter. Again more memories of the past start cropping up and the two start to form a bond. Eventually we find out that Beloved’s intentions get out of hand, which leads to an almighty climax.
‘Beloved’ is about suffering and the after effects of slavery. It also questions the notion of freedom, as although none of the characters in the book are slaves, they are enslaved by the past. Morrison is not a straightforward author. She likes to be vague about certain aspects of the book so she leaves some double ended questions and nothing is chronological. True a lot of authors do this but she will just chuck in a paragraph out of the blue, which ties up some loose ends but is a bit disconcerting at first. When I got used to her technique reading ‘Beloved’ was completely satisfying and I guess a unique experience.