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Theology, Psychology, and Politics: The Holy Trinity in Morrison's Beloved

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Author(s)
Selenka, Nicole
Advisor(s)
Maguire, Roberta S.
Citation
Volume VI, December 2011, pp.25-37.
Date
Dec 2011
Subject(s)
African American; Black theology; Political psychology; Toni Morrison's Beloved; Civil rights; Post-Civil War; Trinity
Abstract
This essay dissects the previously unstudied allusion to the Catholic Holy Trinity in Toni Morrison's Beloved and explains how her purpose in using this allusion, like the Trinity itself, is threefold. Excerpts from the novel reveal how Morrison uses the Trinity to develop her three main characters and their relationships to each other, deepening Beloved's already dense plot. Textual evidence for Morrison's exploration of the reality, fear, and enormity of the enslaved experience is also presented, and how Morrison unites these specific psychologically damaging experiences into a singular commentary on post-Civil War African American consciousness through her trinity of characters is demonstrated. Further, the political climate of the 1980s is investigated and the assertion that Morrison uses her allusion to the Trinity to comment on the tacit reversion of civil rights at the hands of the neglectful Reagan administration and Rehnquist Court is made. These three interdependent aspects of Morrison's Trinity allusion are also used to illuminate Beloved's hauntingly obscure closing message.
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http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1793/56665 
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