The Symbolic Importance of the Ghost and House in Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”
“Beloved” is the last novel by the Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison. The book was first published in 1987 and it tells the story of a black woman, Sethe, who lives in Ohio after escaping from slavery in Kentucky.
The novel is set in the aftermath of the American Civil War and it addresses the issue of race in America. “Beloved” is also a modernist novel and it uses various literary devices such as stream of consciousness, fragmentation, and repetition.
In the last chapter of “Beloved”, Toni Morrison resorts to a symbolic meaning of the ghost’s appearance in the house at Bluestone. The ghost is the symbol of Sethe’s past and it represents her dark memories of slavery. The house is also a symbol of Sethe’s freedom and it represents her new life after slavery.
2. The Symbolic Importance of the Ghost in “Beloved”
The ghost in “Beloved” is a symbol ofSethe’s past and it represents her dark memories of slavery. The ghost appears in the house at Bluestone afterSethe kills her daughter Beloved.
The ghost hauntingSethe’s house is also a symbol ofSethe’s guilt for killing her daughter. In the novel,Sethe tries to rationalize her act by saying that she killed her daughter because she loved her too much and she didn’t want her to experience the horrors of slavery.
However,Sethe knows that she can never justify her act and she will always be haunted by her memories of Beloved. The ghost is also a symbol ofSethe’s struggling to come to terms with her past and to find closure after the death of her daughter.
3. The Importance of the House in “Beloved”
The house is also a symbol in “Beloved” and it representsSethe’s freedom and her new life after slavery. In the novel, the house at Bluestone is described as a place where Sethe can finally be free from her memories of slavery.
The house is also a symbol ofSethe’s redemption and it represents her hope for the future. In the last chapter of “Beloved”, Morrison describes howSethe views the house:
"It was not a pretty house…But it was hers…Of all things on earth that grew, changed color or just died, houses were best because they could be fixed up…A fixer-upper was what they called such places now" (Morrison 307).
This quote shows how Sethe views the house as a symbol of hope and possibility.
In conclusion, “Beloved” is a symbolic novel and its symbols represent different aspects of Sethe’s life such as her past, present, and future. The ghost is a symbol of Sethe’s past and it represents her dark memories of slavery while the house is a symbol of Sethe’s freedom and redemption.