Speaking the Unspoken: Rewriting Identity Loss and Memory of Slavery through Magical Realism in Toni Morrison’s Beloved

  •  Md Abu Abdullah    


Toni Morrison seems to base her magical realism on the belief system of the African American cultural group, and her stories are strongly influenced by African American oral culture and mythology. In Beloved, she uses the magical realist technique to talk about the cruelty of slavery, to reinterpret the official history of white slave-owners and put an alternative history from the perspective of the slaves. It is not only the story of the protagonist Sethe, who killed her daughter in order to save her from the cruelty of slavery, but also the composite story of all slaves and their quest for freedom, and even of those who died in the ‘Middle Passage’ during their journey by slave ships. Morrison uses the magical realist device of a ghost named Beloved who is the embodiment of collective memories of black community and who, by reminding Sethe and other ex-black slaves of their past, allows them to tell their own story and to create their own version of history, and thus enables them to assert their identity which was lost through slavery. By dealing with historical issues critically and trying to cure historical wounds, magical realism in the novels mirrors history as well as strives to change it.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4768
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-4776
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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