Revised Final 1 - Swinson 1 Kayla Johnson-Swinson March 27th 2019 English 112 3 pm The Effects of Dehumanization Toni Morrison wrote the story Beloved

Revised Final 1 - Swinson 1 Kayla Johnson-Swinson March...

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Swinson 1 Kayla Johnson-Swinson March 27th, 2019 English 112 3 pm The Effects of Dehumanization Toni Morrison wrote the story Beloved focused on the life of a freed slave by the name of Sethe. Morrison tells Sethe’s past and present life through a series of flashbacks as well as through the eyes of other characters in the story. Morrison explains all of the several traumatic events that led to Sethe’s current position in life. Many factors lead to Sethe’s destroyed state of mind. Sethe, along with other characters, were exposed to horrible conditions during their time of slavery. In the book and in real life, dehumanization was a tactic used on slaves to break down their morale and mental state. In Beloved , Toni Morrison uses the theme of dehumanization to depict the story of slaves, and how its effects continue on even when they are freed, as in the cases of Sethe and Paul D. However, a glimmer of light is shown as to how to counter the dehumanization as seen by Baby Suggs. Most of the characters mentioned in the story had their own trials and experiences with dehumanization. Whether it be Sethe being compared to cows, or Paul D being compared to a dog, Morrison gives several examples of degradation throughout the book. Morison tells the story of how slaves or even free black people were dehumanized by whites to keep them in a submissive state of mind. During slavery, slave masters would dehumanize their slaves in order to keep their slaves under control. According to the Current Directions in Psychological Science dehumanization is
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Swinson 2 the process of, “representing human agents as nonhuman objects or animals and hence denying them human-essential capacities such as thought and emotion” (Waytz 60). In Beloved , Morrison makes the slave masters treat the main characters as objects and in some cases as animals. In the story, women are viewed as cows and sexual objects. The men in the story are viewed as property and a source of labor. The slave masters didn’t give any regard to how the slaves felt mentally and physically. The slaves' thoughts and concerns were never heard by the masters. The slave masters’ only concerns focused on whether or not their work was done. Dehumanization was necessary to keep the tradition of slavery going for all those years. When a person is dehumanized, it leaves them insecure, with little to no morale, and it leaves them in a hopeless mind state. Slave masters would dehumanize their slaves by whipping them, selling them alongside animals, feeding the like animals, hanging them, calling them niggers, calling them animals, and so much more. Frederick Douglass describes how he was sold in his narrative, We were all ranked together at the valuation. Men and women, old and young, married and single, were ranked with horses, sheep, and swine. There were horses and men, cattle and women, pigs and children, all holding the same rank in the scale of being, and were all subjected to the same narrow examination. Silvery-headed age and sprightly youth, maids and matrons, had to undergo the same indelicate inspection. At this moment, I saw
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