Cincinnati, Ohio, 183.124 Bluestone Road. Only a mother, Sethe, and her daughter Denver, are living in a haunted house. They are African ex-slaves, survivors of a painful and traumatic life. It is Paul D, another slave from "Sweet Home", that suddenly comes, who brings back memories of a past that has been long since buried. The more Sethe and Paul D talk about their past sufferings, the more they are healed.
However, the ghost that haunts the house remains as a mystery. This book, "Beloved", a touching and powerful social novel written by Toni Morrison, is a deeply profound reading experience. Morrison uses the same techniques as the most respectable and admirable authors. These include musical language, as she stated: "I wanted my language to be musical". This technique gives the novel poetic lines, like: "Lay em down, Sethe. Sword and shield.
Down. Down. Both of em down. Down by the riverside. Sword and shield". (page 86). Also, she uses small precise images, that are described in detail.
With this technique, the reader can feel as if he or she can contemplate the image and see the beauty in it. An example of this is: "She frowned and looked at her daughter-in-law bending toward the baby. Roses of blood blossomed in the blanket covering Sethe's shoulders". (page 93). As the story unfolds, the reader discovers the real human nature of the characters by Morrison's excellent use of stream-of-consciousness.
The re memory that takes place throughout the novel examines a cruel and obscene system of the not-so-old American society. Morrison presents some demonstrative examples of that last century America, that could be called "Hell on Earth". Sethe and her family were all victims of slavery in a place called "Sweet Home", where they worked at a plantation. Sethe was sexually abused while she was pregnant of a baby she later called Beloved. She was so terribly whipped by the white nephews of the owner that she carries permanent scars.
After she gives birth, she cuts the baby's throat. She could not bear to think of the child living slavery. The overall plot consists of sources of conflict that play an important role in this story. These are race, gender, family and supernatural issues (which is the presence of paranormal activities.) These are parallel themes found in "Beloved" that basically anyone can relate to, no matter which color. Racial issues is the main theme in this story. However, they are not unlike those read about in other stories and historical writings.
All the cruelties and abuses are probably conservative compared to the reality of what occurred in many cases. For this reason, this book should not be considered as a story about the life of an ex-slave, but about something else more fundamental.