Saturday, April 1, 2017

It was not a story to pass on

Toni Morrison ends Beloved in a very interesting way. On the last page, she repeats the phrase "It was not a story to pass on" twice and separates it by spacing it out of the paragraph. I like how this double meaning can signify two opposite things. Does Morrison wants us to not pass on the story of Beloved and the suffering of the collective African-Americans? Certainly not, instead, we must read it as "it was not a story to pass on," as in everyone should read it. We can easily see how passing on in terms of distributing the story of Beloved might be undesirable because of the supernatural and unfair consequences brought about by slavery, but I think that Morrison wants us the remember the sufferings of the slaves and learn from the past instead of forgetting it.

6 comments:

Brooke Williamson said...

Beloved ends, like Joseph said, by suggesting that all people should read Morrison's story. I think she concludes this way because she wants all people to be exposed to the negative results of slavery and the impact it had on the African Americans. In general, this novel is supposed to symbolize how slavery tormented the blacks due to white dominance.

Luke Jeanfreau said...

I think it works in many ways. She may mean that it's a story that shouldn't have to be passed on, but it is necessary to do so because of its importance. Either way, it works to emphasize just how brutal slavery was.

Rickeia Coleman said...

I think Morrison wants us to interpret it both ways. The whole book seems full of seemingly paradoxical scenarios that I think make the story what it is. Maybe Morrison means you shouldn't pass it on to others but you yourself should experience the story of Beloved. We can never truly know an authors intentions unless she directly tells us which she doesn't. Or maybe she wants us to interpret it any way we want the bottom line is there's no direct answer.

Savannah Watermeier said...

I agree that "pass on" means you shouldn't skip the story. Morrisons point in writing it was to spread awareness of what really happened to slaves. She felt it is important to share their story. However, I can also see how you might think the other way. It is such a horrific story, that perhaps it should not be repeated.

Bailey Taylor said...

I think she wants everyone to read the story because it is much more impactful that way. We've heard the story of slavery a million times, but the way that Morrison tells the story is striking. She really captures the true horrors that slavery entailed. This effect could not be achieved through someone just paraphrasing.

Julia Scofield said...

I also think there could have been a somewhat similar third meaning, which is, we should not have to pass on the story of beloved. Slavery itself was an atrocity. We know now that it is wrong, but slavery should never have been acceptable to begin with. We should not have to pass on stories of people being treated like animals because it should never have happened to begin with.