Multifaceted Motherhood: Representations in Beloved College

To consider the different aspects of motherhood as written by Morrison in her 1987 novel Beloved, inspired by the story of an African-American slave, Margaret Garner; we must first examine the assumptions made in the figure of an ‘ideal mother’ in nineteenth century America, which was further affected by race. Parvin Ghasemi and Rasool Hajizadeh, in Demystifying the Myth of Motherhood: Toni Morrison’s Revision of African-American Mother Stereotypes say that, “While Toni Morrison sees motherhood as an important experience for women, she does not limit women's roles in the society to motherhood, nor does she restrict motherhood to biological maternity…to expose the inadequacy of the socially defined roles of mothers, Morrison populates her novels with atypical mother figures who are searching to attain some sense of individuality and self-worth in a world which denies them these values.” (1)

The role of a mother is explained by, Nancy M. Theriot in Mothers and Daughters in Nineteenth-Century America: The Biosocial Construction of Femininity having three major dimensions: First of all, the new mother role required strict adherence to a child-centeredness that was newly valued. Second, the script defined a new realm of feminine...

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