The Challenges of Race and Motherhood in Toni Morrison’s Beloved College

In Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Morrison interestingly creates a chilling, gothic narrative through strategic use of the supernatural and return of the dead elucidating the history of African American slavery in the United States during the 1860’s. Morrison is writing this novel to underline the importance of remembering this history and the trauma it caused. After a critical analysis, it is discernible that motherhood and race are both dominant themes and key elements in the protagonist, Sethe’s, life that come in conflict with each other all throughout the 1987 novel. Due to nineteenth century societal maternity expectations, slavery, and relationships, Sethe is in constant battle with herself and those around her. As an African American mother and former slave that has been shunned from her own community, it is almost ordained for an arduous life. Her circumstances provide a challenge for Sethe as she struggles finding an adequate poise between race and motherhood, and allowing herself to encompass both aspects of each at the same time. Following Beloved’s ghastly return these two conflicts recur and become even more heightened. Ultimately, Morrison’s Beloved is a book that exposes the challenges of two systems: motherhood and...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1937 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 10919 literature essays, 2722 sample college application essays, 756 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