Thick Love : A Psychoanalytical Study of Mother-Daughter Relationships in Toni Morrison’s Beloved

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Högskolan i Gävle/Avdelningen för utbildningsvetenskap

Sammanfattning: This study employs psychoanalytical theories to explore how the conscious, unconscious, and subconscious workings of the mind, combined with a search for identity, are presented and dealt with in Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved (1987). It is done through a close reading and in-depth textual analysis of thematic concerns raised in the work. Previous research has primarily relied on some specific aspects of psychoanalytic theory and applied it to Beloved. The theoretical framework provides a rationale for this paper to research two events in particular that highlight the mother-daughter relationships between Sethe and her Ma’am and between Sethe and her daughter Beloved. These relationships are consequently analyzed by employing psychoanalytical concepts offered by Freud, Lacan and Kristeva. By utilizing psychoanalytical criticism, the characters’ conscious and unconscious motives and feelings are revealed and explained, as well as the meanings and the undercurrents that lie underneath the text’s consciousness. The results suggest that Sethe murdered her daughter Beloved to keep her from becoming a slave and enduring the dreadful and traumatic consequences of slavery, which was similar to what Sethe went through when she was abandoned by her Ma'am. Sethe’s childhood psychological principles and trauma shaped her identity as a mother as she witnessed her mother abandoning her at a young age by being tortured and killed. The events around Sethe’s mother’s death and the fact that Sethe never identifies her mother’s dead body, scar Sethe for life and instill in Sethe a sense of “lack” and an abnormal feeling of maternal love where she is ready to kill her children to save them from the horror of slavery.

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