The first aspect that this thesis will cover is the background of Beloved. This will include the historical restoration of black history, especially the figure of Margaret Garner, a mother who escaped from the plantation she was enslaved on, and who murdered her one child to save them from the grips of Slavery. I will further this discussion by using foundational studies in critical race theory to explain Morrison’s motivations for writing the novel. After this explanation of the history and theoretical conversation that Morrison engages with, I will explore Beloved’s maternal figures: Nan, the woman who raised Sethe in the absence of her own mother working in the fields on the plantation, and Baby Suggs, another surrogate mother to Sethe. I will examine Baby’s healing qualities and the powerful love she projects on to her community, along with her strong bond with Sethe. I will then analyze the maternal gothic space of the novel through the domestic sphere of 124 that is haunted by the baby ghost, and represents an expansive look at the female gothic that includes the black experience. After the black gothic domestic sphere is analyzed, the thesis will conclude with Sethe, who is loosely based on Margaret Garner.


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Shawangunk Review Volume XXXII Copyright © 2021 by SUNY New Paltz English Department is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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