Monica Udoette


This paper examines the narrative thrust of Toni Morrison’s Beloved as a response to previous slave narratives. It discusses and identifies the writer’s handling of issues of slavery, identity, motherhood, class and history in the novel using the backdrop of Trauma and Psychoanalysis as theoretical models. A close reading of the text reveals that although the novel follows the pattern of slave narratives; it raises more vivid issues by filling in the gaps of silences in traumatic experiences of motherhood, sexual abuse and violence as the haunting echoes of slavery resonating in the memory of black American lives. Between the extremes of forgetting to memory, lies another understanding of an unconscious effort to erase the dehumanizing relics of the past. The textis therefore Morrison’s attempt at contextualizing the ‘re-memory’ model in merging the past and present selves together, moment by moment, in a process of both group and individual reconstruction.


Re-memory, Trauma, Psychoanalysis, Dehumanizing, Reconstruction, Toni Morrison.

Full Text:



Akpan, Kufre. “War and the Trauma of Child Combatant: A Thematic Extrapolation of Uzodinma Iweala’s Beasts of No Nation (2005)”. Steadfast Arts and Humanities. Vol.1, Issue 1, 2021. Pp: 28-40.

Akpan, Kufre and Isonguyo Akpan. “Cultural Matrixes, Trauma and Female Voices in Yejide Kilanko’s Novels”. Voices: A Journal of English Studies. Vol. 7, 2022. Pp: 29-38.

Akpan, Kufre and Monica Udoette. “Migration, Identity andReconstruction of Female Migrants’ Experiences in Chika Unigwe’s Better Never Than Late”. European Journal of Literary Studies.Volume 4, Issue 2. 2023. Pp: 63-80.

Boudreau, Kristin. Pain and the Unmaking of Self in Toni Morrison’s Beloved. Contemporary Literature. 36.3 (1995): 447-465.

Caesar, Terry Paul. Slavery and Motherhood in Beloved. Revista de Letras. 34 (1994):111-120. Date Accessed: 17/08/2023.

Caruth, Cathy. Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative, and History. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press. 1996. Print.

Coonradt, Nicole M. To Be Loved: Amy Denver and Human Need: Bridges to Understanding in Toni Morrison’s Beloved. College Literature. 32.4 (2005):168-187. Date Accessed: 20/08/2023.

Hayden, R. Afro-American Literature: An Introduction. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 1971. Print.

Hirsch, Marianne. The Mother/Daughter Plot. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 1989. Print.

Hooks, Bell. Feminist theory: From Margin to Center. Boston: South End Press. 1984. Print.

Kolk, Bessel and Alexander C. McFarlane. TheBlack Hole of Trauma: Literary Theory: An Anthology. Eds.Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Malden:Blackwell. (1988):487- 502. Print.

Koolish, Lynda. To Be Loved and Cry Shame: A Psychological Reading of Toni Morrison’s Beloved. Melus: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 26.4. (2001):169-195. Date Accessed: 17/07/2023.

McNaulty, Cherie Gayle. Exhuming the Past: Trauma, Narrative, and the Function of Ghosts in Toni Morrison’s NovelBeloved.An unpublished Masters Thesis in Humanities, Submitted to the Faculty of San Francisco State University. May, 2015. Date Accessed: 17/07/2023.

Morrison, Toni. Beloved. New York: Penguin Books. 1987. Print.

Nwiyi, Joy and Monica Udoette. “Between Worlds: Narrating Globalisation, Identity and Alienation in Leila Aboulela’s Short Stories”. TJHSS:Transcultural Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences. University. Vol.3, No. 2, 2022. 7-16.

Rhodes, Jewell Parker. Toni Morrison’s Beloved: Ironies of “Sweet Home” Utopia in a Dystopian Slave Society. Utopian Studies. Pennsylvania: Penn State University Press. 1:1(1990):77-92. Date Accessed: 21/08/2023.

Rody, Caroline. Toni Morrison’s Beloved: History, “Rememory,” and a “Clamor for a Kiss”. American Literary History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 7:1(1995):92-119. . Date Accessed: 22/07/2023.

Taylor - Thompson, B. Masterpieces of African American Literature. Ed. Frank N. Magill. New York: Harper Collins Publishers. 1992. 46-48. Print.

Udoette, Monica. “Female Consciousness in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple”. IJSELL: International Journal on Studies in English Language and Literature. Vol.2, N0. 5, 2014. PP 74-80.

Udoette Monica and Joy Nwiyi. “New Role Perspective of African American Women in Terry McMillan’s Waiting to Exhale”. MARANG: Journal of Language and Literature. University of Botswana. Vol. 26. 2015. 191-204.

Udoette, Monica and Kufre Akpan.“Gender Roles, Women and the Politics of Becoming

In Abimbola Adelakun’s Under The Brown Rusted Roof.”European Journal of Literature, Language and Linguistics Studies. Vol. 7, Issue 1, 2023. PP: 55-66.

Udoinwang, David and KufreAkpan. Social Hysteria, Moral Panic and the (Dys) Functional Order of Postmodernity in AmmaDarko’s Faceless and Bolaji Abdullahi’sSweet Sixteen Lwati: A Journal of Contemporary Research. Vol. 19, No.4, 2022. Pp: 185- 200.

Udoinwang, David and KufreAkpan. The Writer, The Muse and Revolutionary Incitement in Joe Ushie’s Poetry. Sapientia Global Journal of Arts, Humanities and Development Studies (SGOJAHDS), Vol.6 No.2, 2023. Pp. 341 – 350.

Usoro, Rebecca and Monica Udoette. “Authenticating Performance With Oral Forms: The

Case of Uko Akpan Cultural Troupe”. LWATI: A Journal of Contemporary Research.

Vol.11, No.2, 2014.PP: 60-74.

Usoro, Rebecca and Monica Udoette. “Petals of Red, Blood and Sacrifice: Transcending

Humanity in AkachiEzeigbo’sRoses and Bullets”. Langlit: An International Peer-

ReviewedOpen Access Journal.Vol. 6, No.3, Pp: 137-148.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 Monica Udoette

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.










 ISSN (Print):   2695-2319

ISSN (Online): 2695-2327





Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.