The Style Of Toni Morrison's Beloved

1113 words - 4 pages

Style Analysis of Beloved  

In the 500 word passage reprinted below, from the fictional novel Beloved, Toni Morrison explains the pent-up anger and aggression of a man who is forced to keep a steady stance when in the presence of his white masters.  She uses simple language to convey her message, yet it is forcefully projected.  The tone is plaintively matter-of-fact; there is no dodging the issue or obscure allusions.  Because of this, her work has an intensity unparalleled by more complex writing.

 

 

OUT OF SIGHT of Mister’s sight, away, praise His name, from the smiling boss of roosters, Paul D began to tremble.  Not all at once and not so anyone could tell.  When he turned his head, aiming for a last look at Brother, turned it as much as the rope that connected to the axle of a buckboard allowed, and, later on, when they fastened the iron around his ankles and clamped the wrists as well, there was no outward sign of trembling at all.  Nor eighteen days after that when he saw the ditches; the one thousand feet of earth—five feet deep, five feet wide, into which wooden boxes had been fitted.  A door of bars that you could lift on hinges like a cage opened into three walls and a roof of scrap lumber and red dirt.  Two feet of it over his head; three feet of open trench in front of him with anything that crawled or scurried welcome to share that grave calling itself quarters.  And there were forty-five more.  He was sent there after trying to kill Brandywine, the man schoolteacher sold him to.  Brandywine was leading him, in a coffle with ten others, through Kentucky into Virginia.  He didn’t know exactly what prompted him to try—other than Halle, Sixo, Paul A, Paul F and Mister.  But the trembling was fixed by the time he knew it was there.

Still no one else knew it, because it began inside.  A flutter of a kind, in the chest, then the shoulder blades.  It felt like rippling—gentle at first and then wild.  As though the further south they led him the more blood, frozen like an ice pond for twenty years, began thawing, breaking into pieces that, once melted, had no choice but to swirl and eddy.  Sometimes it was in his leg.  Then again it moved to the base of his spine.  By the time they unhitched him from the wagon and he saw nothing but dogs and two shacks in a world of sizzling grass, the roiling blood was shaking him to and fro.  But no one could tell.  The wrists he held out for the bracelets that evening were steady as were the legs he stood on when chains were attached to the leg irons.  But when they shoved him into the box and dropped the cage door down, his hands quit taking instruction.  On their own, they traveled.  Nothing could stop them or get their attention.  They would not hold his penis to urinate or a spoon to scoop lumps of lima beans into his mouth.  The...

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