Effects of Slavery on the Individual in Beloved

In her novel Beloved, Toni Morrison conveys her strong feelings about slavery by depicting the emotional impact slavery has had on individuals. Using characters such as Mr. Garner and Schoolteacher as enablers, Morrison is able to illustrate not only how detrimental slavery can be to an individual, but also how it affects everyone differently. Morrison furthers her claims by constantly engaging the reader with the emotional inner-workings of several other characters, most specifically Paul D., in order to fully show the effect that slavery can have on an individual.

Although Mr. Garner is portrayed as a relatively more respectable and humane slave-owner, the fact that he owns slaves at all makes him no better than Schoolteacher. Morrison uses Mr. Garner to show that even if you allow slaves certain freedoms, the act of owning another human being is always detestable. One situation that shows Mr. Garner’s objectionable character is Halle’s purchase of his mother, Baby Suggs. As Halle points out to Sethe, “If he hadn’t of, she would of dropped in his cooking stove… I pay him for her last years and in return he got you, me, and three more coming up.” Mr. Garner only allowed the outwardly kind-hearted release of Baby Suggs because...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 2165 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 10973 literature essays, 2745 sample college application essays, 852 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in