How Stories break the Silence in Toni Morrison's 'Beloved' Anika Kehl Author
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Seminar paper from the year 2013 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 1,7, Ernst Moritz Arndt University of Greifswald (Anglistik/Amerikanistik), course: Late 20th Century Novels, language: English, abstract: In Toni Morrison's 'Beloved', it is Sethe, a black woman and a former slave, who tries to find her own identity within herself through stories. She has to go back to the stories of her ancestors and to the memories she has of her life on Sweet Home in order to find out what being free really means. While trying to start a new life she listens to many stories about her past and is confronted with her own stories. In whichever form, told, sung, or danced out in front of her, the stories appear, they mark her, her daughter, and her companion's identity. This paper argues that stories are the marker of one's identity. Stories, that are based upon personal experiences and tellings of others, which enter ones mind and never let go are the stories we live by and those we are to tell since 'we are all storytellers, and we are the stories we tell'. Furthermore our '[...] identities are the stories we live by'. After giving some background information to the book the paper is going to define the concepts of story, history, memory and identity, which are relevant for the thesis, afterwards it will be analyzed what impact stories can have on the life of a person and various examples from Beloved will be discussed. It will be tried to explain in which form the stories appear and how the characters deal with their life stories. In conclusion, it will be analyzed how the stories, by which Toni Morrison's characters live, can break the silence.


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