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Archetypal Analysis of Beloved by Toni Morrison

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Annie Zampitella

on 28 May 2014

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Transcript of Archetypal Analysis of Beloved by Toni Morrison

Common Archetypes vs.
Beloved Archetypes
Common Archetypes
Milk symbolizes Mother-daughter bond,slavery and Sethe's obsessive nurturing
Archetypal Lens
collective unconscious
universal psych
meaning is not specifically described in text
throughout life and literature
Archetypal Analysis of
by Toni Morrison
Annie Zampitella
Natasha Vasiliades
Marley Henderson

Trees are displayed in archetypes as a symbols of life, growth, and peacefulness.
Trees are constantly portrayed in
The Tree of Life in
The first significant point of a tree being brought up is with Sixo, he "went among trees at night. For dancing, he said, to keep his bloodlines open..."(25). The trees are getting his blood going, they are giving him energy that he uses to dance and be happy.
Another example is with Denver, she has a hiding spot within the trees and bushes where she goes to be safe and away from the world. "Veiled and protected by the live green walls, she felt ripe and clear, and salvation was as easy as a wish"(29).

The Tree of Life continued..
Another example of the trees in Beloved being portrayed as something joyful, peaceful, protective or in other words a lively is through Paul D.
When Paul D. was in Sweet Home he retreated to the Brother tree. He went to Brother to relax, eat and get away. "...trees were inviting; things you could trust and be near..."(21).
This tree provides safety, just as Denver's hiding spot did, and it provides relaxation and a spot to calm down and get away from working, as Sixo did with his dancing.
Trees Represent Life, Death and Rebirth
Sethe is living throughout the novel and the chokecherry tree on her back is living with her.
Sethe's tree however is dead at the same time, she does not feel the nerves on her back where the "tree" is, they are dead. "...her back had been dead for years"(18).
Sethe is "reborn" or her tree is reborn when Paul D. comes to her at the end of the novel and finds her in the garden laying down. He nurtures her back to life as did Amy and Baby Suggs.
Trees Represent Life, Death and Rebirth
Sethe's tree represents the lives that were taken during slavery.
Her tree also represents the rebirth or rehabilitation of the slaves.
The Tree
The tree in
could be seen as any tree, whether it's the one on Sethe's back, the ones in the Clearing, Denver's hiding spot, Brother tree, Sixo's trees or any other.
Throughout the book the archetype of the tree has carried practically the same meaning.
It was used by Toni Morrison to portray life, death, rebirth, peace, joy, and a symbol of slavery.
Throughout slavery, as shown in Beloved, the image of the tree was used to depict the feelings and losses of the African Americans as well as the things in which they gained.
Sethe's "Tree"
Beloved Archetypes
-tobacco tin
Because Sethe is a slave, her milk is only one of the few things she can actually offer her children

(When the boys take her milk-"dehumanization" and traumatizing)
Sethe breast feeds Denver after killing Beloved, and there seems to be blood left on Sethe. While Denver feeds, she also feeds on Beloveds blood. This is a connection for Denver to Beloved, and is an example of Sethe's obsessiveness and desperation
Many references are made between Beloved and milk; one of them being that you can smell the milk in her breath. This is also ties into the archetype of Death/Rebirth.
"All I knew was I had to get my milk to my baby girl. Nobody was going to nurse her like me. Nobody was going to nurse her like me. Nobody was going to get it to her fast enough, or take it away when she had enough and didn't know yet. I told that women in the wagon. Told them to put sugar water in cloth to such from so when I got there in a few days she wouldn't have forgotten me. The milk would be there and I would be there with it" Page 19
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