Sense of Alienation and Racial Discrimination in Beloved

Sense of alienation and racial discrimination are two equally forceful elements of Toni Morrison, which give the constitutive formation to the novel Beloved. These two elements have been presented as two sides of a single coin because the very cause of racial discrimination has been resulted in the sense of alienation. The whole novel moves around the pathetic condition of race discrimination, which has resulted in the sense of alienation in the blacks.

Toni Morrison (Born in1931)

The cruel situations of Kentucky plantations are one of the representative situations of other parts of the country. Sethe's position is one of the representative lives of slave women throughout the Africa. Their life was drowned in emotional as well as physical hardships. The very alienated position of Sethe resembles the alienation of all slave women. Not only Sethe but also other characters has become the victim of alienation. All slave women who worked in the fields were separated from their small children who might be left in the case of older, physically weak women.

Morrison decorates her novel with the sense of alienation of blacks due the bitter race discrimination prevailed in the African society. It moves around the alienated position of all black slaves. Sethe, the protagonist of the novel, reveals clearly about the long rooted brutality of whites over the blacks. Sethe is physically and emotionally alienated from her husband Halle, from her children, from her mother and, from her society and most vitally from herself. Her husband is separated from her when they run away from the Sweet Home. She has to kill her eldest daughter and make her physically distant from her because of the brutality of slavery. Her two sons are afraid of her as she might kill them too. So, they live with Baby Suggs. Sites society thinks that she has committed the unforgivable crime by killing her child so she is boycotted from the society. In this sense, she is physically alienated. Her emotional alienation is more torturous. She is emotionally alienated from the love of a mother. She loves her children, but due to lack of knowledge and experience of the proper way to show love, she thinks that killing is better than to let her kids live in slavery. She misses her dead child, Beloved. When she appears in the novel, Sethe does everything to satisfy her emotional hunger of love.  On the other hand, the ghost Beloved too is emotionally alienated. She feels the injustice of being killed by her mother instead of getting love and care. So, to be away from her emotional alienation she comes to be compensated from Sethe.

Her daughters, son and other characters also represent about how they were alienated from their families and became the victim of the racial discrimination of the African race. There is not any sense of personality, identity of blacks in any part of the novel because for blacks it was the matter of very far distance in Africa. Their concern was only about how to be less victimized by their masters and to be a bit safer from them. So their whole life was grasped by the inhuman behave of their white masters.

Thus Morrison’s one of the major concerns in the novel Beloved is to depict the sense of alienated position of all African blacks by focusing on their position with information about how all the blacks in Africa are always forced to live in alienating position being always far from parents, family and their friends.

By the same token, Morrison also focuses on how African blacks are always drowned in the vast ocean of racial discrimination throughout their life being the extreme victim of their masters’ inhuman behaviors sexually, physically, mentally and emotionally. On the one hand, their masters had sucked the blood of their black slaves by compelling them to work very strenuously and on the other hand, they had exploited them not only as workers but also as the potential breeder of new property. Those children who were born out of their slave were legally belonged to their slave- owner. In this sense too, black women slaves were sexually exploited by their owner. The slaves were treated as animals and labelled them as a commodity to be sold and bought. The nephews of schoolteacher sucked Sethe breast as if she was a milking machine or a milking cow.

So everywhere we can get the bitter experience of slavery in the novel. Neither blacks’ economic condition is good nor is their social, political and practical situation is in their favor. It is all because of their color. Economically too they are in a very poor situation, they are always drowned in the vast ocean of debt and socially too they could not establish their own identity in African society. They are born in debt, grow in debt and die in debt. They can't get the actual vision of outer world due to their color and they are completely alienated from their society, family and other different aspects, which are essential for an individual.