Beloved Style Analysis

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The institution of slavery was the murder of equality, and the birth of dehumanization. In Beloved by Toni Morrison, the use of rhetorical devices conveys this point indefinitely. On pages 175 to 176, Morrison focuses in on the most antagonistic character of the novel: Schoolteacher. In portraying his perspective, Morrison is able to achieve her purpose within the novel, and about society as a whole. The effective phrasing of diction and imagery allows Morrison to give the reader a holistic view on the state of mind behind the ultimate supporters of slavery. As the owner of Sweethome, Schoolteacher saw himself as the superior. He gave nobody respect, yet demanded to be treated like a God. His vehemently racist opinions and demeanor towards slaves are clearly expressed through Morrison’s particular word choice. The transition in perspective can first be noted from the repeated use of “nigger” (175) which connotes a clear resentment towards African Americans. This jumps right into Schoolteacher’s view on African Americans and slaves, and serves as an indicator of his personality. Also, he utilizes the word “claim” (175) in his observations, which suggests that he is taking back something that belonged to him in the first place. This shows how he views the slaves as items that he owns, and not humans that deserve to live their own lives. In exploiting such vocabulary, Morrison is showing the personality of Schoolteacher and furthering his role as the antagonist in the novel. Her larger purpose, however, is to generalize the mindset that all slave and plantation owners had back in the times where slavery was rampant, and the dehumanization that arose as a result from it. The perspective of a slave owner is not only achieved through the derogatory terms and possessive indications that Schoolteacher makes, but through his allusions as well. He states that Sethe had gone “wild” (176), which relates her to an animal that is untamed or unsafe to be around. He also...
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