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English Literature/Compare two books - Essay Example

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In her novel Beloved, Toni Morrison explains “It was not a story to pass on.” This simple-seeming, straightforward sentence actually turns very complicated once one truly considers its meaning. First we must determine what story is being discussed. The immediate answer is…
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Download file to see previous pages Reading this from a psychological approach might indicate that this is a story Sethe is trying to avoid telling to herself while a familial approach indicates a family history shared rarely and only in the dark. A social history perspective would see this as a story told by the slave community only to those who have a need to know while a national history perspective would demonstrate the story of slavery itself and effects it has as it is told to the public. In a final twist, a reader’s knowledge of vernacular indicates a dual literary translation of the statement. Instead of indicating a story that should not be retold, this passage could indicate a story that should not be unheard, as in passed up or skipped. When compared with other literature documenting the effects and experiences of slavery, such as the stories contained in Voices from Slavery: 100 Authentic Slave Narratives, the ugly truth about slavery begins to become clearer.
In the novel Beloved, we are introduced to the fictional character Sethe, who lives in a small “gray and white house on Bluestone Road” (Morrison, 1988, p. 1) with her daughter Denver. Throughout the story, we learn these two women have not always lived alone, nor will they remain alone as the story progresses. As the story opens, we learn that Sethe and Denver once lived with Sethe’s two sons, Howard and Bugler, who have both run away as a result of strange, ghostly activities happening at the house. They also once lived with Baby Suggs, Sethe’s mother-in-law and the woman who taught Sethe how to live again after slavery. Very quickly, we are also introduced to Paul D, who was one of the men Sethe had worked with on Sweet Home, the Kentucky plantation where she, her husband and several others had been cruelly treated as slaves. That they were cruelly treated is also made immediately obvious in Morrison’s description: ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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