The Land of Milk and Honey: Biblical Allusions in 'Beloved' 10th Grade

In Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved she tells the story of an escaped slave and her desperate attempts to lead a somewhat normal life after her horrific experiences at her former plantation, Sweet Home. The protagonist, Sethe, at the threat of being recaptured and her former owner bringing her whole family back to slavery, attempts to kill her children and then herself. She only gets as far as killing one of her daughters, Beloved, before she is stopped. This haunts Sethe both mentally and physically when Beloved’s ghost arrives at her home at 124. Morrison utilizes Biblical allusions, religious language, and direct quotes from The Bible to aid in the telling of this tragic yet hopeful story; From describing characters as holy to quoting The Bible, Morrison’s use of religious themes and allusions with her novel Beloved deepens not only the themes of the novel but also the characterization of the characters within the story.

Beloved is filled with biblical allusions and ambiguous religious references especially in reference to the characters and their journeys. Sethe’s journey to escape slavery is extremely Biblical in nature. She escapes her former life by bathing herself in the waters of the Ohio River in a sort of baptism for...

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