Beloved by Toni Morrison

(1987) A novel by Toni Morrison, winner of the Pulitzer Prize. It is the story of a runaway slave whose desperation forces her to slash her infant daughter’s throat with a handsaw rather than see the child in chains. But eighteen years after the child’s death, a young woman appears and the characters believe she is the slain infant returned to earth. Set in the pre- and post-Civil War era outside Cincinnati, Beloved is developed through a series of flashbacks to the Sweet Home Plantation. The main characters are Sethe, the heroine who is literally haunted by the baby daughter she killed; Beloved, the ghost of Sethe’s child; Paul D., a former slave who knew Sethe when they were together at Sweet Home; and Denver, one of Sethe’s other three children.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

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