Paper: A Review of Beloved by Toni Morrison

The concept of re- memory is central in the authors telling of Sethe's story. Sethe explains what a re-memory is to her remaining daughter Denver in the following passage: . .. Some things go. Pass on. Some things just stay. | used to think it was my re-memory. You know. Some things you forget. Other things you never do. But it's not. Places, places are still there. If a house burns down, it's gone, but the picture of it-stays, and not just in my re-memory, but out there, in the world. What | remember is a picture floating around outside my head. | mean, even if | don't think it, even if | die, the picture of what | did, or knew, or saw is still out there. Right in the place where it happened.” Are-memory differs from a memory because it can be shared. The collective nature of slavery created re-memories, known to more than one person. Even those who never shared in the experience can know its terror. Sethe's re-memories about slavery are excruciatingly painful for her to talk about. She does not want her daughter to know the horror of slavery, and yet Sethe herself will never forget that horror. That is the paradox for Sethe: how to overcome the trauma of slavery while the memory of it still lives. The author stresses the collective nature of the experience of slavery, though she tells an individual story. Though Beloved has a strong community focus, the author also explores the alienation that results from Sethe's act. Sethe and Denver become isolated for a time, not only from the white community, but from the black community as well. Here the author delves into the divisions within the black community. Sethe's isolation creates a more complex picture of the effects of slavery. The racial divisions are not purely polarized, black and white, but rather they are suggested. This is a key component to the authors approach to the survivor's tale: individuality within community....