The Impact of Slavery in Toni Morrison’s Beloved: From the Communal to the Individual

Mahameed Mohammed


Slavery is a condition of extreme physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual deprivation, a kind of hellish life. This paper aims at exploring how the culture of white racism sanctioned not only official systems of discrimination but a complex code of speech, behavior, and social practices designed to make white supremacy not only legitimate but natural and inevitable. In her masterpiece, Beloved (1987), Toni Morrison portrays the dehumanizing effects of slavery on the past and memory of her heroine. Morrison has dedicated her literary career to ensuring that black experience under, and as a result of, slavery would not be left to interpretations solely at the dictates of whites. This study shows how Toni Morrison has succeeded in revealing the physical and psychological damage inflicted on African American people by the brutal inhumanity that constituted American slavery. The paper, in this context, investigates how the memory and the past of the heroine act as destroyers of her motherly existence.


Morrison, Slavery, Consciousness, Trauma, Dehumanization

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