Books and Movies Reviews

The Significance of the House in Beloved

In Toni Morrison's Beloved, the house is an important presence throughout the novel; it is present as a symbol in most of the significant events that occur within it. This novel taken on a gothic dimension, in that the house is portrayed as a character. Its personality becomes similar to those of its inhabitants; the house takes on their psychological conditions, and the surrounding society's culture and history. In a general sense, the house changes along with the fortune of its inhabitants; it is a living, growing force present as a backdrop anda unifier to the events of the novel Beloved.
In the beginning of the novel, when the house is described as being'spiteful, full of a baby's venom', it is referring to the way the house takes on the character of the ghost. The character of the time also affects the house-Baby Suggs comments how every house out there in America is built on the bones and blood of slaves, in part referring to the way the growth of American society at that time was driven by slavery. The house symbolizes a history that must be confronted, because the past cannot be escaped. Especially evident when Paul Dfirst walks into the house, is the evil that has been stewing for centuries of impressments and injustices. He realizes the extent of the strangeness of the house and Sethe herself. What Stamp Paid later tells him about her history only confirms it, and makes the emotional and psychological weight too much for him to handle.
On the other hand, for Denver, the house in which she lives is a comfort. The house is her life, and when Paul Dfirst arrives, he disrupts the delicate balance of solitary existence with the house and causes Denver's breakdown. He invades her relationship with the house-especially when he throws the ghost out of the house-just as Beloved invades Denver's relationship towards her mother. When Denver approaches the house, she does it as if she is a…


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