search instagram arrow-down


Follow me on Twitter

The Alliance of Independent Authors - Author Member
I'm an Ethical Author
Follow Home Page on

Recent Posts

Previous Posts


Aroon Barnwell SC book review Civil Rights Movement diaries genealogy indentured servants internet resources interviews Ireland Irish lore John B. Pryor John Tuohy Lincoln music newspapers Nicholas Sheehy Pat Conroy placage Pryor Knowledge Reading Challenge review South Carolina South Carolina lowcountry The Least of These travels Uncategorized Whiteboys William Johnson Word Histories Writing


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 971 other followers

“A Baby’s Venom:” Beloved

The book, Beloved, has a definite chill to it. The story, the characters, the world in which the characters are forced to exist all drew me in. And there I sat, captivated, uneasy, and creeped out. But mostly captivated.
Beloved is the story of slaves, in captivity, during escape, and in freedom, spanning from about 1855 to 1873. The images the book draws of the physical, but mainly emotional trauma of life as another man’s chattel are stark and distressing. Written from the slaves’ point of view, Toni Morrison was able to put me into their shoes more completely than I had felt in all my previous readings. Perhaps it is her gift for poetic prose that touched me so deeply.
Aside from the torment of enslavement, Morrison adds a more mystical, other-worldly aspect to the story with the appearance of the protagonist’s dead child, Beloved, now grown and in new flesh, at the family’s door. Ghosts coming to life don’t unnerve me that much, but while this innocent child returning as a young woman should have induced some sympathy in me, I felt none. She creeped me out.
The real value of this book, however, are in the deep insights it offers to us as human beings. One that particularly struck me was that those who consider themselves superior debase themselves in their efforts to keep others “in their place.” Morrison wrote, “Whitepeople believed that whatever the manners, under every dark skin was a jungle…” Through the system of slavery or any effort to demean another people, the oppressors become debauched themselves. Morrison writes, “The screaming baboon lived under their own white skin.” While reading this, the History Channel’s “Ku Klux Klan” was on the television, driving this truism home to me in all its horror. It also is evident in research I’ve done on the 18th century oppression of the Irish peasants.
I did find the style and structure of the book to be confusing at first. I had to re-read the initial twenty-five pages before I understood what was what, but I would urge anyone drawn to this book to stick with it. The rewards are bountiful.

One comment on ““A Baby’s Venom:” Beloved

  1. JaneGS says:

    I just finished this novel, and found it compelling as well. It was so difficult to read in parts, but I found some amazing characters as well. Baby Suggs, holy and Stamp Paid were my favorites, and I loved the idea of Paul D escaping by following the blossoms of the trees.>The real value of this book, however, are in the deep insights it offers to us as human beings.I agree–I would actually have liked to have more insight into “schoolteacher” and why he was the way he was. But then, this wasn't his story, it was Sethe's. Great review!


Leave a Reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: