By Jay Parini
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Additional info for American Writers Classics, Volume 1
Morrison has created a story that, by its very nature, will be passed on, moving from reader to reader, from hand to hand. Yet she chooses to include a warning in the text, a warning that—if the standard processes of reading and writing fulfill themselves—will be a useless paragraph. Even at the level of the author's most straightforward communication with her public, the text issues an impossible request. The paradox of expressing the inexpressible has saturated the whole of the writing process, at all of its levels of syntax.
In this way, the structure of brutality and physical violence can be said to mirror the trope of the ghost. The ghost, Beloved, causes anomie and alienation in the novel's principal characters; memories of violence endured have the same impact. Paul D is isolated from the opportunity to make a profound connection with Sethe, simply because he cannot make the emotional expenditure that this would entail. THE ELOQUENCE OF IMAGES AND THE OTHER Morrison, then, achieves an eloquence with words that words would not have if left to the standard devices of contemporary fiction.
In 1998 a remarkably faithful film adaptation of Beloved arrived in theaters, starring Danny Glover, Thandie Newton, and Oprah Winfrey (who attempted to give life, onscreen, to a character from the novel that she did so much to promote). The movie was only moderately successful, but numerous aspects of the novel translated well to the conventions of the cinema; the brutal image, so powerfully presented in text, attained a new level of visual impact through the camera's lens. Select Bibliography EDITIONS Beloved.
American Writers Classics, Volume 1 by Jay Parini