How Does Toni Morrison Use Color In Beloved

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Beloved, Toni Morrison’s fifth novel, is seen as a controversial masterpiece by many critics. This novel was written in 1987 and failed to achieve many goals such as; winning the National Book Award or the National Book Critics Circle Award. However, Morrison was held in such high regard that forty-eight other influential African American writers’ and critics signed a tribute to her career. This tribute was published and put in the 24 January 1988 edition of the New York Times Book Review. Mckay stated, “Beloved made its way to the New York Times Bestseller List in the week of its official publication date, and within a month, after an initial run of 100,000 copies, it was in its third printing”(4). This novel is taught and written about throughout…show more content…
In this novel, color becomes compelling. Slavery takes all color out of life, leaving the characters to hold onto objects of vivid color. Baby Suggs feels colors are safe and harmless. For example, since Baby Suggs feels that colors are safe, she tells Stamp Paid, “Blue. That don’t hurt nobody, Yellow neither” (Morrison 170). While Baby Suggs is dying, colors are one of the only objects that give her comfort. Plasa states, “[…] she [Baby Suggs] hungers for yellow, or lavender […] “(17). In literature blue represents peace while yellow represents happiness, which explains the reason Baby Suggs feels that colors are harmless. The one color that recurs the most throughout this novel is Red. In literature red often represents love, however in this novel red represents pain and death. One very powerful use of red is shown when Stamp Paid finds a red ribbon attached to a piece of scalp. For example, when Stamp Paid finds the red ribbon “He tugged and what came loose in his hand was a red ribbon knotted around a curl of wet woolly hair, clinging still to its bit of scalp.[…] he kept the ribbon; the skin smell nagged him, and his weakened morrow made him dwell on Baby Suggs’ wish to consider what in the world was so harmless. He hoped she stuck to blue, yellow, maybe green, and never fixed on red” (Morrison 172). This horrific scene gives the readers an…show more content…
The novel itself has brightened the theme of “absence, making the readers aware of a void that was unimaginable before its publication” (Solomon 32). This novel is so rich and powerful that many critics today still continue to try to understand and discuss Morrison’s work, a work that gives America the true definition of slavery. Morrison has applied many methods that she has used artistic symbols throughout the novel. 124 when summed up makes seven which symbolizes creation and also symbolizes Beloved. Sethe is both the name of the child of Adam and Eve and the name of the God of chaos and storm, giving her strength and masculine features. Blue and yellow, the colors that Baby Suggs held onto so dearly giving her hope and red, the color of love and yet sometimes death give the readers a true feel for slavery. The many Christian references such as the clearing, the tree that represents suffering, and Paul D’s tin tobacco box serve as symbols in order to escape from the unoriginal and ensure that the message she wants to deliver will reach the

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