The Tobacco Tin Box in Beloved 12th Grade

There are many symbols woven throughout Beloved, by Toni Morrison. Among those is Paul D’s tobacco tin box, which is a figurative replacement for his heart. Being a slave at Sweet Home and a prisoner at a camp in Alfred, Georgia, Paul D certainly faces traumatizing events. These traumatizing events are figuratively manifested in Paul D’s tobacco tin box. In more abstract terms, the tobacco tin box represents the loss of connection between memories and emotional function. With a tobacco tin box as a figurative replacement for a heart for Paul D, Morrison highlights slavery’s destruction of identity.

Paul D’s traumatizing experience under the burden of an iron bit in his mouth cause him to lose his voice, and adopt of a feeling of uselessness. The iron bit is a manifestation of slavery’s destruction of identity because Paul D is restricted of his ability to talk. Most of our personality is displayed by what we say or do, and by being severely limited in those areas, Paul D ends up with a reduced personality. Paul D is naturally a kind and caring person, but when “Paul D saw [Halle] and could not save or comfort him because the iron bit was in his mouth”, his caring nature is destroyed (Morrison, 83). The iron bit is a critical...

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