Gender Studies I
EN2011 – Fall 2010 – Terry Goldie
Lecture 12 – Dec 2
- It is one of the greats because of the way it is written.
- In order to accomplish what Morrison has accomplished the form is essential.
- One of the important things is how it’s written is the sense of how to transmit that
- There are many symbolic things in this novel.
- The novel is a highly written text that is very self-consciously about people that
are largely illiterate.
- A culture that is oral and based on a shared understanding.
- Orallity is all about content.
- A text really has no context; you can read it anywhere.
- Print isolates you and removes you from the world around you.
- The oral world, the world without writing, is all about content. It’s all about
- Context in which oral material is transmitted.
- It’s a complete world in which everything is understood within the context.
- What you live, what you experience, what you are as oppose to knowledge
carried in printed form.
Paul D’s Tobacco Tin
- Metaphorical tin – he keeps it near his heart and keeps all his personal feelings
and thing shut.
o He is amazed at the thought of having that turnip.
o The idea that Paul D could be a human with property rather than a human
who is property.
- The tobacco is important even without papers – represents pleasure and a
- For him, the tobacco tin is more symbolic than the earrings but is symbolic in the
- They steal her milk after she sends her children away.
- She must get her milk to her baby.
- Represents the most basic connection of nutrition of the human connection.
- What slavery does is that it cuts you off.
- The way she was brought up was not brought up in that sense of nurturing.
- Central for nutrition and bonding.
- Why do they take her milk?
o To degrade her.
o To be perverse. o To engage in the same kind of thing of any demeaning sexuality.
o The interfere with what she sees as her innate relationship with her
- Ella had a white baby and she just let it starve.
- Ella represents the rejection of motherhood in the situation of slavery, the way it
can destroy you.
- Paul D is kept in cages – the men are expected to give blowjobs.
- The female is sexy and reproductive and the male is sexy in an over determined
- The reason the slave owner would have them give blowjobs is to reduce the
masculinity of the man.
- The man slave has the problem of emasculation.
- An animal that has the freedom that the slaves don’t and the rooster feels
- Meaning? Connection? Symbolic?
o Sweet Home Alabama (song) suggests that the skies are blue and that
o The beautiful south & country music or racism & slavery.
- Missing something: Home Sweet Home.
- It was a fairly sweet home for the slaves that worked there because they were
more respected there… Therefore it was a good home in relation to the other
- Good slavery.
- During the American civil war there were situations were slaves fought the
opposing soldiers not because they were forced to but they were afraid of losing
- If slavery is the only thing you have ever known then perhaps it can be the only
sense of existence.
- Morrison shows that it’s never a home, it’s never sweet and you will give up
anything to escape it.
- Home implies safety, comfort, family.
- They don’t belong to the home they are belonging to the property.
- The sense of belonging is about roots, (where we were born), the roots are
- Many Afri-Centric movements that have existed is because Africans came to
Canada/USA as slaves. The majority of people can trace it back to slavery.
- The idea of home is in some sense lost.
- Why is it a better place? Why is it sweeter?
o Baby Suggs is not mistreated – she is allowed to be bought out of slavery
by her son.
o They allowed not marriage but ‘marriage’ – not legal marriage.
o Mr. Gardener treats his slaves like men, therefore his wife is safe. - The idea of allowing your property be human – letting his slaves argue with him.
- What they normally do is they would put a good male slave have sex with female
slaves to have more slaves.
- Humans as property as valuable – the actual value of the property is so important
that it recognizes how important humans are.
- The actual value of a person – their possibility of reproduction and working their
- It’s missing something for both oral and written people.
- Symbolic as a written person but as an oral person you can also ‘see’ it.
- What is missing? The #3.
o Beloved would be the third child – missing.
o The three shadows holding hands.
o Symbolic in different cultures.
- Added up: 7
o A lucky number.
o Beloved is a 7 letter word.
Zeta is a 7 (in Spanish) and therefore connected to beloved.
Beloved is important because it’s the title of the novel and t