Postmodernism in American literature The novel Beloved by Toni Morrison often makes us question the credibility of what is being told, and uses many striking, sudden shifts between the past and present, making it difficult to distinguish between reality and fiction. This blurring of the truth is a common element of postmodern fiction. In fact, many scholars would say that Beloved is a great example of postmodernism. (Ebrahimi 2005) Morrison uses this technique to bring about the suffering, growth, and resurrection of her characters, and abstractly, the entire black community. With the use of postmodern elements such as resurrection/reconstruction, self-reflection, and multi-narratives, Toni Morrison successfully develops the
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All day and all night she sat there, her head resting on the trunk in a position abandoned enough to crack the brim in her straw hat. Everything hurt but her lungs most of all. (Morrison 60) This passage demonstrates resurrection as post-modernist and presents itself as a tool with which Sethe’s and Beloved’s characters develop, as much of the story is about telling a story, or metafiction, which is another post-modern characteristic, and gives us a sense that these events and their emotions are being recapitulated or recycled. Through literature we seek to find meaning and truth of certain events, objects, etc. This is very much a modernist mentality. In postmodern fiction, we avoid drawing conclusions and begin to question everything we think we know to be true in our society, especially about ourselves. This puts us on a path towards self-reflection. This is the case in Beloved, where Sethe, while reliving her traumatizing past is often reflection and contemplating on her past and her future, and ultimately bases her actions on this precedent.
Saying more might push them both to a place they couldn’t get back from. He would keep the rest where it belonged: in that tobacco tin buried in his chest where a red heart used to be. Its lid rusted shut. (Morrison 86) This passage was taken after Paul D reveals to Sethe his story. It represents that he has a lot of painful memories of the past that he