Gothic Elements, Beloved, American slavery, violence; the tragedy of black people; the brutality of slavery
The book of Beloved depicts many aspects of African-American slavery such as violence; the tragedy of black people; the brutality of slavery, etc, and these are represented through many elements like scriptures from the bible, fantastic and gothic elements. Morrison's use of gothic elements has always raised critical questions whether these elements have well represented to depict the African-American survival, its struggles and path that lead a way out of them(Khammatit 3). The elements of gothic in a literary piece of the Beloved might appear strange for an ordinary reader. The purpose of use of gothic is not to present the novel as a fiction genre but rather to take the reader into an in depth exploration to see the consequences of the crime of slavery that traumatizes the social system (Scheel 156).
There are critiquing questions whether the representations of a haunted house will be able to produce a novel that depicts slavery (Scheel 156). Similarly, a lot of readers and critics try to see the use of gothic elements in Beloved from different perspectives. Some state that gothic elements are used since it is a part of African-American literature. Others perceive that gothic elements represent the African belief of magical realism. There are also many who view grotesque as a revival of African-American culture. Therefore the research paper aims to explore the use of gothic elements in Beloved to examine how far these views/ opinions are true and reliable.
[...] "Gothic Chiaroscuro in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The HOuse of the Seven Gables and Toni Morrison's Beloved", Department De Filologia Anglesa Universitat de València. Spain, available at: http://www.tdx.cat/bitstream/handle/10803/52088/lopez.pdf;jsessionid=219FE2D 31BF0BE2EF59AFDE3B45E870B.tdx2?sequence=1 Peters, Lucas. "The Dialogic Sphere and Grotesque Body of Beloved: Establishing Bakhtin's Folkloric Carnival in Afrocentric Feminism", Quest Dec 2006, http://www.qub.ac.uk/sites/QUEST/FileStore/Filetoupload,52370,en.pdf Scheel, Charles, W. “Toni Morrison's Beloved : a traumatic book onthe trauma of slavery Human & Social Science Series,2009, Syllabus Review 153 169 Skinner, Beverly, L. Michael Morrison, A.(ed). [...]
[...] For instance, when the baby ghost invades 124 and when Paul D drives away the ghost from the house the feelings of Paul D are expressed in the forms of trembling, grinding and shoving floor (Skinner 90). It can well observed the gothic elements helps in describing the characteristics of fantastic literature. This literalization helps in the linguistic process enabling to read the language literally as opposed to cognitive process (Skinner 90). The Beloved is a representation of African-American history of slavery which Morrison presents through gothic elements depicting the culture of colonized nations. [...]
[...] Traditional Gothism deals with the portrayal of disturbing anxieties, guilty memories, and troubling perversions. It repeatedly signals the haunting presence of the past especially those things which should be dead and gone or erased. However, the return of the past embodies in itself a paradoxical realm between the living and the dead (Kirsch 2). This can be well seen how the baby ghost haunts the house, the very child whom Sethe loved to death. The physical presence of the baby ghost was seen by Sethe and her family in terms of strange voices, violent shaking, lights which eventually disrupted normalcy of their daily lives. [...]
[...] Paul D resists Beloved just like the way he does not like to confront the past which comprises of the horrible memories such as days at Sweet Home, hanging of his closest companions, the way he was sold and reduced to absurdity and the brutal experiences of being chained with a gang of slaves. But Beloved achieves in going deep into his buried tin where she is able to bring a release of the repressed emotions (Corey 236). Both for Paul D and Sethe, Beloved poses as a threat to their self. Sethe experiences Beloved's invisible hands move through her neck which almost feels like a stranglehold whereas Paul D is driven out from 124 gradually because of Beloved's presence. [...]
[...] Apart from helping Sethe to be connected with her past, Beloved also poses as a danger where she desires to claim Sethe totally for herself without allowing Sethe to make choices for Paul D or Denver. To this challenge Sethe responds in a way where she gives up her life and future as atonement for her sin towards Beloved (Corey 235). Till the time Paul D drives out the baby ghost from 124, Beloved haunted the house in the form of a ghost of a baby. [...]
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