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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Reader's Diary #164- Toni Morrison: Beloved (up to p. 175)

I know a lot of readers would suggest taking one's time with a novel, savouring each word, phrase and so on, but there's something to be said for rushing through.

As I've mentioned in an earlier post, I've joined a book club. My first meeting comes up at the beginning of November and it looks like a bit of a heavy read. I can't very well go to my first bookclub meeting unprepared, and I can't very well drop Beloved halfway through. Therefore, I'm rushing it.

But surprise, surprise it's increased my enjoyment. I think this novel in particular has the potential to get confusing- forgetting characters and plot intricacies from one night to the next would only make matters worse. Reading it as fast as possible (without cheating and just skipping pages) hasn't allowed me to forget much and I'm able to stay on top.

One night, just as I was drifting off to sleep, I think I came close to understanding the Beloved character. I think instead of being a ghost of some sort, she's actually a manifestation of Sethe's love wall. For lack of a better term (mine, not Morrison's), a love wall is a defense someone puts up to keep from maximally loving someone else, or to keep others from loving them. While Morrison keeps leaving clues that it is actually the ghost of her dead daughter, the love wall theory still holds up. The gruesome and tragic story of that daughter's death is one of the reasons Sethe holds her love back. Looking at Beloved in this light has also made me enjoy the book more. It's a theory sure, and even if it doesn't pan out, the exploration is fun.

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