The Treatment Of Slavery In Toni Morrison's Beloved

1926 Words 8 Pages
In today’s society, euphemisms and political correctness often mask the dark and seldom discussed crudeness of slavery to avoid expressing the true damage it inflicts. Toni Morrison lifts this veil as she successfully attempts to inform readers in unrestricted detail of the animalistic treatment endured by the black population in her novel, Beloved. Through explicit scenes of abuse and recollections of memories once locked away, Morrison gives audiences an insight into the torture that convinces black slaves they are nothing more than animals, as well as who is to blame for their pain. First, schoolteacher ensures that future generations continue the white racist agenda of ridding the black population of their human traits. Second, the inhumane …show more content…
Unless a slave is married, they are not allowed to have sexual relations with one another. In this case, not many slaves are married nor is there anyone to have sexual relations with at Sweet Home, so they turn to barbaric alternatives. These substitutions are illustrated in the following quotation: “All in their twenties, minus women, fucking cows, dreaming of rape, thrashing on pallets, rubbing their thighs and waiting for the new girl – the one who took Baby Suggs’ place after Halle bought her with five years of Sundays” (Morrison 13). With the animal like treatment they suffer, the slaves grow to believe that bestiality is acceptable since they feel like creatures, too. With a couple of exceptions, most of the slaves resort to this animal behavior, brought on by the persuasion of getting beat up like horses that they, too, were animals. This results in a loss of interhuman sexuality, a core component of their nature as humans, which in turn takes away from their ability to reproduce. It is important to take note of the language Morrison uses to convey their sexuality, particularly “fucking cows” and “thrashing on pallets.” This describes their sexuality in a very derogatory tone, especially with the use of explicit language and graphic images. Morrison is putting the slaves’ sexual appetite into a realistic, albeit unpleasant, perspective, convincing her readers of how far slavery takes them in terms of being forced to abandon normal, human behavior. Bestiality becomes commonplace for slaves, all because of the animal treatment they receive. In addition, slavery leads Sethe to protect her children from schoolteacher in a beastly manner. Upon noticing the arrival of her enemy at 124, she concludes that they only way to save her children from a life of slavery is to kill them herself. Stamp Paid reveals this to Paul D, leaving out “how she flew,

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