Beloved Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize Term Paper

Length: 4 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Literature Type: Term Paper Paper: #4944488 Related Topics: Toni Morrison, Mineral, False Memories, Blood
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Clearly, color, specifically the color red, plays a significant symbolic role in developing these aforementioned central themes. At the most basic level, in a book that is primarily about slavery, color is a powerful theme as the colors of black and white divide society and is the entire reasoning for the conflicts of slavery. Even after emancipation, the colors of black and white continue to create conflict, as even Sethe determines that there are "no good white people." Likewise, even white people who do not believe in slavery, such as the Bodwins, assume the worst of black people. According to Baby Suggs, "There is no bad luck in the world but whitefolks." (Morrison, p. 94).

This black vs. white color conflict creates the tensions that drive the novel and create the emotions that are symbolized by other colors. For example, Baby Suggs eventually gives up on life and only wants to "think about colors" because "colors are safe." She tells Stamp Paid, "Blue. That don't hurt nobody. Yellow neither." (Morrison, p. 187). Even when she is dying all she thinks about is colors, having Sethe bring them to her, believing that colors are alive and "not false and dangerous like people or trees." However, this statement is not true, as is seen by the deceiving color of red, which simultaneously represents both the polar opposite emotions of love and death.


To remind him of the dangers in color, he keeps the red ribbon in his pocket. The book states, "The skin smell nagged him, and his weakened marrow made him dwell on Baby Suggs' wish to consider what in the world was harmless. He hoped she stuck to blue, yellow, maybe green, and never fixed on red." (Morrison, p. 189).

The color red appears throughout the novel. For example, Amy Denver's red velvet symbolizes hope and a brighter future, while Paul D's red heart symbolized feeling and emotion. The red roses that line the road leading to the carnival not only announce the fun of the carnival's arrival, but also of Sethe, Denver and Paul D's new life together. Yet, at the same time, the roses smell of death. The red rooster represents manhood to Paul D, a manhood that Paul D. feels he has been denied. Amy's search for carmine velvet shows the futility of her dream. Finally, Sethe's memory is awash with the red of her daughters blood and the pink mineral of which her tombstone is made of.

Clearly, the color red is used in Beloved to show the various emotions that color can play. While red symbolizes both love and death to different individuals, so does the more prevalent colors of black and white. Thus, Beloved is, at many different levels, a book about color and the conflicts they can create.


Gagliardi, Pasquale. Symbols and Artifacts: Views of the Corporate Landscape. New York: Aldine Transactions.

Marks, Kathleen. Toni Morrison's Beloved and the Apotrapaic Imagination. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2003.

Morrison, Toni.…

Sources Used in Documents:


Gagliardi, Pasquale. Symbols and Artifacts: Views of the Corporate Landscape. New York: Aldine Transactions.

Marks, Kathleen. Toni Morrison's Beloved and the Apotrapaic Imagination. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2003.

Morrison, Toni. Beloved. New York: Random House, 2004.

Cite this Document:

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"Beloved Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize", 16 May 2007, Accessed.3 August. 2021,

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