Although African Americans had a difficult time establishing their own culture during the period of slavery when they were considered less than human, Morrison believes that black culture has been built on the horrors of the past and it is this history that has shaped contemporary black culture in a positive way.
Through the use of linguistic devices, her representation of black women, imagery and symbolic features, and the theme of interracial relations, Morrison illustrates that black culture that is resilient, vibrant, independent, and determined.
Beloved, as a trickster, is playing with Sethe by stirring up the past rather than continuing to repress it.
In some ways, Sethe is still enslaved because she cannot remove the shackles of what happened in the past, including her decision to murder her daughter. “Chapter Four—Tar and Feathers: Community and the Outcast in Toni Morrison’s Trickster Novels.” Writing Tricksters: Mythic Gambols in American Ethnic Fiction.
As the novel related, if Paul D could “walk, eat, sleep, [and] sing,” he could survive and “asked for no more” (Morrison 1987: 41). If a house burns down, it’s gone, but the place-the picture of it-stays, and not just in my rememory, but out there, in the world” (Morrison 1987: 36).
While others may not understand the jargon used in the songs, those singing it and other slaves hearing those songs know what it means, and this is a way to strike some independence and distinct culture for themselves during a period where it is uncommon to think of blacks as even human (Capuano 2003: 4). Morrison’s creation of her own terms related to how the black culture has to continually deal with its past as though it is a metal neck chain that they cannot unlock.Both Beloved and Denver want their mother to themselves, furthering the idea that black women stick together while black men are seen as untrustworthy. Paul D does not like Beloved either because he feels isolated from the bond that the women share. One linguistic device used throughout the novel is the use of songs.Slaves use songs as a way to pass down stories but also to help them maintain a sense of inner strength.For example, Sethe explains how she struggles with the past: It’s so hard for me to believe in [time]. Many of the characters have been torn from their families because of the slave traders splitting up families and selling them as slaves to various white masters.Together, they share a history of suffering and an urge to heal and become whole people again.Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK Essays.THE REPRESENTATION OF BLACK CULTURE IN BELOVED BY TONI MORRISON African-American author Toni Morrison’s book, Beloved, describes a black culture born out of a dehumanising period of slavery just after the Civil War.The novel describes Sethe as “running into the faces of the people out there, joining them and leaving Beloved behind” (Morrison 1987: 309). As part of the black culture, black women represent the pillars of strength within that community as protectors and healers.In addition to songs as a linguistic device, Morrison constantly returns to the word, “rememory” and “disremember” rather than using words, such as “remember” or “forget.” Morrison uses rememory to show how Sethe constantly keeps the past in her present existence because she cannot forget what happened and lives with the ghost of her guilty conscience and moral dilemma for murdering her daughter and living through slavery. They are the glue that holds everything together when the world is falling apart around them.