The Symbolic Significance of Colours, Trees, Naming/Re-naming and Water in Toni Morrison's Beloved College

Toni Morrison through her novel, Beloved (1987), attempts to reacquaint the readers with the history of American slavery by choosing to present it through the African-American community’s experience rather than the white American perspective. The narrative of Sethe who is based on a real life person, Margaret Garner, initiates the process of healing and reconciliation with the psychologically traumatic past. This ritual of healing that Morrison brings to the fore taps not only into Christian traditions but also the cultural fabric of the African customs and beliefs. Much of this culture is the foundation of the Black American community that was newly formed after the extensive period of slavery. This is reflected in the various symbolisms employed by Morrison to breathe life into the communal narrative of the ‘sixty million and more” African-Americans who died during the Middle Passage and are the bearers of the slave legacy. This paper has chosen to look at the significance of colours, the images of trees, the act of naming and re-naming and the images of water that are potent symbols throughout Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved.

Colours have played a significant role in literature and are used to convey myriad meanings. Morrison...

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