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Gothic Elements in Beloved

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  1. Introduction
  2. Gothic Elements
  3. Beloved analysis
  4. African-American history
  5. Conclusion

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. [...]


[...] The gothic elements in Beloved represent multidimensional aspects of the African-American community. It is true that gothic elements are a part of the African-American literature. But it is also true that gothic elements presents the magical realism of the African-American belief in some segments of the culture where the people commonly believe in the presence of departed relatives living as a ghost among them influencing their lives significantly. Morrison has used gothic to represent this segment of the African-American belief. [...]


[...] The grotesque body has been used to physically represent the folklore according to the Bakhtin's theory which also covers a particular realm of African-American feminism. When viewed from the dominant patriarchal culture the grotesque represents the roots of folk culture (Peters 6). In Beloved the carnival represents African-American folklore which is an identification of their circularity of life and had died since the time of Baby Suggs. Hence the grotesque imagery has been used to unify both the bodies of life and death through a singular body of Beloved (Peters 7). [...]


[...] Gothic elements have helped in portraying the destructiveness of colonization resulting in American slave life. These elements well demonstrate to the reader the tragic life as an outcome of crime, rape, suicide, breeding and limitation of Black slaves in terms of power (Khammatit 3). Gothic elements enable the reader to sympathize and understand Black people better by enabling them to perceive the experiences of fear and abhorrence (Khammatit as well as emotional repressions like guilt, anxiety, shame and trauma. Hence Morrison has used these elements in the novel serving as a metaphor which is the core of gothic romance. [...]

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