Violence And Authorial Violence In Toni Morrison's 'Beloved'

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In chapter 11 of “How to Read Literature Like a Professor,” Foster explains how violence in literature usually means more than just a punch. There are two kinds of violence: character caused violence and authorial violence. Character caused violence is any type of violence in which there is a guilty party. Even if it is not a direct group, there is still someone or something to blame. Shootings, stabbings, drowning, poisonings, bombings, starvation, etc are all examples of character caused violence. Authorial violence is when death and suffering is introduced in which the characters are not responsible. They are usually introduced for plot advancement or thematic development. Heart disease, slow death, and loss of abilities are all examples …show more content…
If they are caught, they will be forced back into slavery. In a last attempt to save her children from slavery she tries to kill both of them, but only succeeds in killing one. The murdered child returns as a ghostly figure and tells Sethe she is more than just a child lost to violence, but one of “sixty million and more” (50). The only escape from the violent life as a slave turns into infanticide because Sethe would rather have her children dead than forced into slavery. An entire race of people were subjected to these horrors, but there was nothing else Sethe could do. According to Foster violence can be “symbolic, thematic, biblical, Shakespearean, Romantic, allegorical, transcendent,” (50). An act of violence varies from reality to literature. If someone punched you in the face, it is probably an act of aggression, whereas in literature, it could be a metaphor for something …show more content…
E.M. Forster’s novel “A Passage to India,” has his central incident being a possible assault in a cave. The heroine, Adela Quested, wants to see the Marabar Caves so Dr. Aziz arranges an outing. The caves are isolated in a barren wasteland, unadorned, strange, and uncanny. Adela becomes overwhelmed by the caves and eventually runs out of the caves, falling down the hillside into a racist English community. She accuses Dr. Aziz of assaulting her because of her bad bruises and scrapes. The cave is what readers have to analyze because it definitely symbolizes something. It is our job as readers to figure out what that meaning is. It can symbolize anything including the past, we might be reminded of Plato, and the caves might symbolize Adela’s own personal conflicts with her life. The possibilities are endless, but it is up to the readers to figure out what it means to us. Foster explains that, “The only thing we are sure of about the cave as symbol is that it keeps its secrets. That sounds as if I’m punting, but I’m not. What the cave symbolizes will be determined to a large extent by how the individual reader engages the text,”

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