Intergenerational Trauma In Toni Morrison's Beloved

Words: 1310
Pages: 6

Tracing individual stories of suffering and strength, we unmask the intergenerational trauma of slavery in North America, of how Black people are directly impacted by the brutality of white supremacy and capitalism. In Beloved, Toni Morrison employs personal narratives through the power of fiction to underscore the intergenerational trauma African Americans experienced from chattel slavery. From Baby Suggs, Sethe, to Denver, the stories of three generations of Black women are intertwined with the greater historical background. Each character represents a different point in time in regard to the Reconstruction: Baby Suggs was bought freedom by her son Halle a few years before the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment, Sethe escaped slavery on her own, and Denver was born free. All three women exhibit strength and resilience as survivors of intergenerational trauma, despite the challenges they face under the shadow of chattel slavery. …show more content…
Even though Baby Suggs lived most of her life as a slave, she devoted herself in the later years of freedom to preaching to find meaning, which in turn empowers former slaves and their children. Morrison sets up an independent and tough mother figure that is Baby Suggs, who was the head of 124 before she passed away. She fights in her own way, that when asked by Mr. Garner about the treatment she received at Sweet Home, she expressed her anger and frustration, saying to herself that “but you got my boy and I’m all broke down. You be renting him out to pay for me way after I’m gone to Glory” (Morrison 2004[1987]: 172). The joy of freedom and the worry for her children sets up a dichotomy that Morrison explores with the character Baby Suggs, in which the role of mother and a free woman seem like two contradiction identities that cannot exist at the same time as another product of