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Magical Realism in Beloved

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Honor Levy

on 12 December 2014

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Transcript of Magical Realism in Beloved

Magical Realism in Beloved
A Means of Exploring the Multi-Generational Impact of Slavery
=
Long Term Effects of Colonialism
A Tool Used to Give a Voice to the Voiceless
=
An Unlearning of Western-centric History (dominance)
A Contrast Between Science and Faith
=
A Re- imagining/Repossession
Colonization Today
-Effects still felt-->Negatively
-Ethnic Rivalry
-Unequal Distribution of Resources
-Human Rights Violations
-Lack of Governmental Institutions
A Multi-generational Issue
How This is Illustrated in the Novel...
-Sethe and Denver's relationship.


Characterizations:
-
Sethe=physical
-->
Denver=mental
Who Writes History?
Primary Sources
-The Middle Passage
-Lack of primary source accounts-->from slaves
-Why? And Why is it important?
A Voice
-
"Sixty Million and more"
-->under or un-represented
-Beloved=baby girl+sixty million and more
-Analysis 248-266-->narrator change

The Passage
-Impressionistic

-Full of Shifts

-Poetic Form

-Experience of the Middle Passage
Spirituality in Beloved
-Matter of fact
-Magical realism-->Accept supernatural
-Spirituality=major for slaves
-Baby Suggs=spiritual leader-->POWER
-Spirituality=survival
Supernatural Acceptance
-No questions asked
-Lived through previous horrors
-Every single character
Contrast of Science and supernatural
-Which is more widely accepted?
-Western views standards-->by colonialism
-Baby Suggs=personification of good
-Schoolteacher=personification of evil
-Large contrast

What is magical realism and what elements of "Beloved" fit this description?
What is the function of magical realism in Toni Morrison's "Beloved"?
Decolonization is...
Why is it important?
How and where does it begin?
Fact
Fantasy
Fantasy
Fact
“Decolonization is a dramatic re-imagining of relationships with land, people and the state. Much of this requires study, it requires conversation, it is a practice, it is an unlearning.”
-Syed Hussan
Magical realism is a
decolonizing
tool.

-Process+goal.
-Unlearning.+Undoing.
-Group Effort.

How does magical realism serve as a means of decolonization?
Small
-->
Large
Beloved
-->
Reality
“There is no bad luck in the world but
whitefolks

Manipulation of language
Epithet
THE WINNERS
Commercial goods
Enslaved Africans
"What
tree
on your back?[...]
I don't see nothing
growing on your back"(18)
“She had to be safe and
I put her where she could be safe
”(236).
A scar=forever
Internal+External
"Whitegirl. That's what she called it. I've never seen it, never will. But that's what she said it looked like. A chokecherry tree. Trunk, branches and even leaves. Tiny little chokecherry leaves. But it was eighteen years ago. Could have cherries too now for all I know"(18).
“I am not separate from her there is no place where I stop her face is my own and I want to be there in the place where her face is and to be looking at it too a hot thing”(248).
Impressionistic Diction+lack of punctuation-> Confusion
I
was going to help you but clouds got in the way.
/
There's no clouds here
./
If they put
an iron circle around your neck

I will bite it
/
away” (254).
And the
wrought-iron maze
he had explored in the kitchen
like a gold-miner through pay dirt
was in fact a revolting clump of scars. Not
a tree
, as she said"(25).
Denver's Personality+Origins
-Sheltered->stunted
-Age?
-"Your love is too
thick
" (193). ->Concrete-motif of novel
-"I got a
tree
on my back and a
haint
in my house, and n
othing in between but daughter
I am
holding in my arms
. No more running from nothing.[...] I took one journey and I
paid for the ticket
"(18)
“So intent on her
nursing
that she forgot to eat or visit the emerald closet” (64).
“It started that way:
laughing children, dancing men, crying women
and then it got mixed up.
Women stopped crying and danced; men sat down and cried
; children danced, women laughed, children cried until, exhausted and riven,
all and each lay about the Clearing damp and gasping for breath.
In the silence that followed,
Baby Suggs, holy, offered up to them her great big heart
” (103).
Sethe
Denver
Paul D
Ella and Women of the Community
The Narrator
“Beloved, she my daughter. She mine. See. She come back to me of her own free will and
I don't have to explain a thing
.”
"
124 was spiteful
. Full of a
baby's venom
"
"Slowly,
m
ethodically,
m
iserably she ate it"(23).
"Denver would not sleep in her old room after her brothers ran away"(23).
"
You
want to fight, come on
!
God Damn it
!
She got enough without you. She got enough"(22).
"Her steps and her gave
were
the cautious ones of a child"(35).
This contrast challenges what we know to be right and wrong->decolonization.
Conclusion

-Beloved=small scale of MAJOR process
-Magical realism=Imagination
-Decolonization=Imagination
-What can you imagine?
-What can we imagine?
-The Future
Baby Suggs
-Goodness
-Epithet "Baby Suggs,
Holy
"
"Well, I think the baby got plans"(45).
“The
devil-child
was clever, they thought. And beautiful. It had taken the shape of a pregnant woman, naked and smiling in the heat of the afternoon sun” (308).
Schoolteacher
-Embodiment of evil
-Beats Sethe, mammary rape
-Inhuman acts
-Scientific
-Conflict
“Clever, but schoolteacher
beat
him anyway to show him that definitions belonged to the
definers - not the defined
.”
"They called him onka. Had pretty manners all of them.[...]The kind of people that knew Jesus by his first name"(45).
Morrison, Toni. Beloved: A Novel. Print.
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