Tennyson's Poems

Nature - Toni Morrison and Christina Rossetti 12th Grade

For centuries, nature in literature has been used as a means to reflect both our society and humanity. Both Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Christina Rossetti’s selected poems use nature as both a tool of oppression and a support, challenging the inequalities and ideals of their times. However, within their contexts - Morrison writing in the 1980s reflecting on the slave trade of the 1860s, and Rossetti writing within the patriarchy of Victorian society – nature is presented in different lights. While Beloved portrays nature as something spiritual, a bond with the African-American community, nature in Goblin Market may be seen to have erotic overtones, depicting the close bond of sisterhood. Regardless, both texts regularly present nature as a symbol of new life and/or death. These texts can also be linked to the use of nature in Tennyson’s The Lady of Shalott, with its reference to death and the fallen woman.

Nature in both texts is often presented as a tool to present oppression. In Beloved’s stream-of-consciousness monologue, the girl on the slave-ship says, “I am falling like the rain is”. This declarative simile uses pathetic fallacy of ‘the rain’ as an allusion to the girl crying as a result of the slaves’ cruel treatment in...

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