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International Journal of Research in English

Vol. 6, Issue 1, Part D (2024)

Haunting the haunted: Memory and repression in Toni Morison’s Beloved


Ishita Prasher


Freedom understood in its narrow political considerations often eludes the finer, more existential questions regarding its nature and extent. It is these finer nuances pertaining to the psyche, memory and lives of the African Americans in post-Abolition American that becomes the centre piece of Toni Morisson’s novel, Beloved. This articles, attempts to delineate the innovative use of the idea of a haunted house in Beloved to indicate and explore, the psyches that are haunted and tormented by a gory past. It shall also delve into the tradition of the Gothic novel and its echoes found in Morison’s novel. The article highlights how through the motif of a haunting spirit, Morrison engages with repressed memories of slavery, the effects of the repression and a national amnesia about the horrors of institutional slavery. Morison’s characters are forced to undergo a process of de-numbing to sensitize them to their own feelings and trauma. This, in turn, leads to a vocalisation and thereby a documentation of the brutal history of the dehumanisation of the community forced into slavery. The article also investigates how the trope of the haunted house is used in the novel, to accord a subjectivity to its characters who hitherto have remained statistics- subsumed within a homogenized taxonomical category deprived of a psyche, emotion and individuality.

Pages: 224-226  |  62 Views  21 Downloads

International Journal of Research in English
How to cite this article:
Ishita Prasher. Haunting the haunted: Memory and repression in Toni Morison’s Beloved. Int. J. Res. Engl. 2024;6(1):224-226. DOI: 10.33545/26648717.2024.v6.i1d.192
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