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An Analysis of Magic Realism in Toni Morrison’s Beloved

Author XiaoZhiHong
Tutor CuiYaPing
School Northwestern University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Toni Morrison Beloved magic realism
CLC
Type Master's thesis
Year 2007
Downloads 860
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Toni Morrison (1931-) can be regarded as one of the leading writers in the world. She is described as one "who, in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality." Her famous novel Beloved, which was published in 1987, is always regarded as her representative work. Critics evaluate this "magic and splendid" book as "a milestone in black literary history", and "if you haven’t read Beloved, you cannot understand American literature thoroughly".The writer of the present thesis believes that the reason why Beloved achieves such extraordinary success and attracts so many readers all over the world lies in Morrison’s unique artistic style of blending magic realism, which is rooted in Latin American literature and absorbs the essence of the Western modern literary schools, with the traditional African culture rooted in her native soil. Through the employment of magic realism, Morrison deepens the novel’s subject of reflecting the reality and causes impressive magic and aesthetic effects in the reader’s mind by blurring the boundary between the past and the present, the dead and the living, the fancy and the reality. Beloved has become one of the representative magic realistic works and Toni Morrison has also been called a woman writer of magic realism to compose "modern myth".The present thesis begins with the causes of the employment of magic realism by Morrison, a native American black writer, through analyzing the author’s personal experiences and the novel’s realistic themes, followed by an analysis of magic realism’s birth, its development and its artistic principles and characteristics. The thesis then focuses on the complete and skilful adoption of magic realism in Beloved and analyzes it from the three perspectives of characterization, narrative methods and writing techniques. Finally, the thesis concludes that Beloved is a great representative work of magic realism. The thesis aims not only to prove Beloved to be a magic realist masterpiece through demonstrating various magic realistic elements in it, but also to produce a better understanding of the artistic techniques and profound themes of the novel from the angle of magic realism.

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