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Analysis

Literary Devices in Beloved

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

Beloved may cover a lot of emotional ground, but it also covers a lot of honest-to-goodness physical ground. Sure, most of the novel is set within one tiny house at the end of a country road, but i...

Narrator Point of View

Narrative voice is a tricky beast in Beloved. For starters, Morrison doesn't stick to just one narrative style. She'd rather make you aware of how diverse her characters are—translation: she'd ra...

Genre

Gothic FictionBeloved opens with a ghost slamming the daylights out of the house on 124 Bluestone Road. Ghost stories usually take a little bit of time to build up some suspense, but this novel doe...

Tone

Sniffle, SniffleDon't know what an elegy is? We're here to help. Okay, now that you're the expert, why are we calling Morrison's tone is elegiac? Well, the dedication to the novel gives us our firs...

Writing Style

If we're handing out awards for novels that are difficult to read—which, by the way, we're not—Beloved might just walk away with the grand prize. But you know what? It's not because the languag...

What's Up With the Title?

Beloved herself for a deeper look, but suffice it to say that words packs a lot of punch.Whose beloved is beloved? Who does Beloved belong to? We've got lots of contenders in this novel, but Belove...

What's Up With the Epigraph?

Let's start by talking about the dedication: Sixty Million and moreThe sixty million to whom Morrison dedicates Beloved refers to the estimated number of black people who died during the Atlantic s...

What's Up With the Ending?

At the end of Beloved, Paul D and Sethe seem like they're about to start a new life together. Denver's employed in town and preparing for grand things like college. And Beloved, well, Beloved's now...

Tough-o-Meter

The only reason we didn't ramp it all the way up to a 10 is because Beloved is so out there and creepy that it's a page-turner no matter how tough it is.Why is so complex? For starters, every word...

Plot Analysis

Three's CompanySethe and Denver live at 124 Bluestone with a Poltergeist-y presence (whom Sethe thinks is her dead baby daughter) until Paul D, an old friend of Sethe, arrives and, very quickly, mo...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Falling under the Shadow of the Dark PowerJust when we thought the "dark power" of slavery was over (after all, it is 1874), we learn that things don't end nearly as quickly as we'd like them to. S...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

Sethe and Denver are just about to start a new life with Paul D when Beloved appears on their doorstep. Their house isn't haunted anymore… or is it?Things are heating up at 124 and not in a good...

Trivia

What's a good way to commemorate those who were slaves? As Morrison points out, "There's no 300-foot tower, there's no small bench by the road." Except now there is. A small bench by the road, tha...

Steaminess Rating

Let's see. We have the killing of a baby girl, an attempted killing of another baby girl, a ghost, and a girl back from the dead. And that's just the supernatural, horror stuff. What else? The brut...

Allusions

Paul D's tobacco tin box of a heart reminds us of the Tin Man in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.Paul D saying "Red heart. Red heart. Red heart" (11.117) reminds us of the phrase "Red rum red rum" from...
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