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Slavery is a part of our history that no one wants to remember. Toni Morrison struggled when writing Beloved with the natural “tension between needing to bury the past and needing to revive it,” as put by Ashraf Rushdy in "Daughters Signifyin(g) History: The Example of Toni Morrison's Beloved" (39). The characters in Beloved feel this dual need, especially Sethe, who wants to forget what she did but knows she cannot, who longs to have with her again the daughter she killed to save from slavery. Nicole M. Coonradt in "To Be Loved: Amy Denver And Human Need-Bridges To Understanding In Toni Morrison's Beloved" says, “As her characters' lives are shattered as a result of their slave experience, so too are their stories. By piecing them together, a clearer, more complete version of their painful history emerges” (171). All the characters in this work are influenced by slavery, and we see its effects through Morrison’s retrieved history; by examining the actions of the characters and relationships among the characters—especially the mother-daughter relationship between Sethe and her daughters—we are shown how to remember the sordid past of slavery and how to heal.


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18 Jul 2022
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  • Event location
    • Special Collections

  • Event date
    • 3 April 2013

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Tanya Bennett