Toni Morrison - Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987) 1. When was...

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Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987) 1. When was this book first published? Where does it fit chronologically in relation to the other books we have studied? Are there ways in which it seems to you a more contemporary book than The Street or Meridian? 2. What is the reference in the epigraph, "Sixty Million and more"? 3. Why do you think the book is titled "Beloved" rather than "Sethe" or "The Ghost" or some such? What features of the book does the title emphasize? 4. When does this story open? Why do you think Morrison chose this date for the beginning of the story? 5. What do we learn at first about the family's relationship with the outer world? About the death of Baby Suggs? What had been her experience of life? 6. What are some notable features of Toni Morrison's style? What are some of the features of her manner of storytelling? 7. What is the central event around which the novel turns? Why do you think we only learn about the basic facts gradually, as though unravelling a puzzle? 8. To what famous story/poem does this novel allude? Would you say Morrison's view of the event is as positive as Stowe's or Harper's? 9. What do we learn about the circumstances under which Beloved's grave was carved? 10. What are some of the memories of "Sweet Home" evoked by the appearance of Paul D.? Is the title ironic? 11. What do we learn about Sethe's former husband? The circumstances under which her back has become scarred? 12. How do Sethe and Paul D. feel about their reunion after eighteen years? How does Paul D. respond to Sethe's explanation that a ghost is haunting their house? 13. How are readers supposed to respond to the claim that Beloved haunts her mother's house? How does this supernatural element affect the book's tone? 14. Are there grotesque elements of the narrative? If so, what purposes do they serve? 15. What evicts the ghost? Are there symbolic elements to this scene? 16. What do we learn about the circumstances of Denver's birth? (29ff.) Through whose imagination is the story told? 17. What do we learn about the white girl who facilitates Sethe''s escape? 18. What have been the circumstances of Amy Denver's life? In what ways does she help Sethe? 19. What beliefs about the nature of memory does Sethe convey to her daughter? Are these beliefs self-evident? Do you think these may relate to Morrison's view about the nature and role of art? 20. What role does the schoolteacher play in her story? 21. Why is the novel told through a series of flashbacks? Is the chronological sequence always clear? 22. What do we know about Paul D.? What has been his past? (prison farm, war, wanderer, 40-41) What seems to be the basis of his attachment to Sethe? 23. What symbolic circumstances attend Beloved's return to 124? What do you make of her literal, physical return? 24. What memories does Sethe have of her mother? What had she learned of her father? Of
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This note was uploaded on 12/13/2011 for the course LITERATURE 105 taught by Professor Stevens during the Winter '11 term at Mitchell Community College.

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Toni Morrison - Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987) 1. When was...

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