By Toni Morrison
Why this book?
I cannot talk about ghosts in books with pausing to give homage to the outstanding and heartbreaking story of Sethe and the ghost of her daughter, called Beloved after her gravestone, whom Sethe killed to spare her a life of torture and rape as a slave. An embodied, adult Beloved returns to Sethe, "a greedy ghost" that "needed lots of love, which is only natural, considering." Beloved only speaks in her own voice for a brief period in the book, and when she does we see her embodiment waver, she is both herself and others ("there is no place where I stop"), both a murdered daughter and a conglomeration of generations of suffering under slavery. Morrison's employment of a ghost seems only natural considering the story she tells, one that asks us to truly see the horrific conditions of slavery in the pure poetry of her prose.
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