Toni Morrison’s Beloved : Space, Architecture, Trauma

Toni Morrison’s Beloved : Space, Architecture, Trauma AndrEw hoCK soon ng Space is a prominent feature in Toni Morrison's Beloved (1987/1988), and whether it is literal or figurative, it compels an allegorical appreciation as to how and what it signifies. For example, 124 Bluestone is unmistakably an architecture that reifies pastness and entrapment. Here, Sethe and Denver are locked in a persistent memory that refuses to set them free. The Clearing, the backyard over which 124 Bluestone overlooks, is, as its name suggests, a place of renewal. This is where Baby Suggs, Sethe's mother-in-law, encourages the black people to reacquaint themselves with their bodies that have been violated by slavery (88). There is the ironically named Sweet Home, a place which only evokes painful memories for those who once sojourned there. But the novel also references figurative space to speak of memories, emotions and sometimes ideology. Paul D's heart, for example, is spatially configured as "a tobacco tin lodged in his chest" into which his traumatic memories are placed so that "nothing in this world could pry it open" (113). In this way, he protects himself from being overwhelmed by the perpetual loss (of identity, of family and friends) he experiences. Sethe sees memory as http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png symploke University of Nebraska Press

Toni Morrison’s Beloved : Space, Architecture, Trauma

symploke, Volume 19 (1) – Jan 7, 2011

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © symploke.
ISSN
1534-0627
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Abstract

AndrEw hoCK soon ng Space is a prominent feature in Toni Morrison's Beloved (1987/1988), and whether it is literal or figurative, it compels an allegorical appreciation as to how and what it signifies. For example, 124 Bluestone is unmistakably an architecture that reifies pastness and entrapment. Here, Sethe and Denver are locked in a persistent memory that refuses to set them free. The Clearing, the backyard over which 124 Bluestone overlooks, is, as its name suggests, a place of renewal. This is where Baby Suggs, Sethe's mother-in-law, encourages the black people to reacquaint themselves with their bodies that have been violated by slavery (88). There is the ironically named Sweet Home, a place which only evokes painful memories for those who once sojourned there. But the novel also references figurative space to speak of memories, emotions and sometimes ideology. Paul D's heart, for example, is spatially configured as "a tobacco tin lodged in his chest" into which his traumatic memories are placed so that "nothing in this world could pry it open" (113). In this way, he protects himself from being overwhelmed by the perpetual loss (of identity, of family and friends) he experiences. Sethe sees memory as

Journal

symplokeUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Jan 7, 2011

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