Cultural Trauma and Gothic Implications in Toni Morrison's Beloved (1987) and Paradise (1997)
Promotor(s) : Delville, Michel
Date of defense : 27-Aug-2019/6-Sep-2019 • Permalink :
|Cultural Trauma and Gothic Implications in Toni Morrison's Beloved (1987) and Paradise (1997)
|Date of defense :
|Committee's member(s) :
|Arts & humanities > Languages & linguistics
|Université de Liège, Liège, Belgique
|Master en langues et lettres modernes, orientation germaniques, à finalité didactique
|Master thesis of the Faculté de Philosophie et Lettres
[en] In this dissertation, I focus on how Morrison exposes, in both Beloved and Paradise, the
cultural trauma the African Americans suffered due to their perpetual oppression. I argue that
both novels revisit traditional gothic tropes in order to emphasize the horror of the African
American condition. Finally, I argue that Morrison uses the Gothic as a historical mode to (re-
)tell and (re-)write the often forgotten or hidden part of American history, namely slavery and
its everlasting effects on the generations of African Americans.
In order to so, this dissertation is constructed in two parts. The first part constitutes a
short theoretical introduction on gothic fiction. Firstly, I expose the difficulty of defining the
Gothic. Secondly, I give a brief overview of the historical and literary context of early gothic
fiction. Finally, I discuss how the element of race is represented in gothic fiction by focusing
on the American Gothic and what is meant by the racial Other in gothic fiction.
The second part of this dissertation constitutes a textual analysis of Morrison’s Beloved
and Paradise and is divided in two chapters. The first chapter deals with the gothic trope of the
monstrous. In this chapter I discuss the monsterizing of women and gendered violence in
Paradise as well as “monstrous intimacies”3 and the disruption of the African American family
in Beloved. The second and final chapter of this dissertation deals with the gothic trope of the
supernatural. In this chapter, I discuss how the supernatural is expressed in both Beloved and
Paradise by the use of ghosts and unexplained events.
Cite this master thesis
The University of Liège does not guarantee the scientific quality of these students' works or the accuracy of all the information they contain.