S-Space Researcher Institutes (연구소) American Studies Institute (미국학연구소) 미국학 미국학 Volume 37 Number 1/2 (2014)
Resentment Sanctioned : Reading Sethe’s Anger in Toni Morrison’s Beloved
- Lee, Hyeon Jeong
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 미국학연구소
- 미국학, Vol.37 No.2, pp. 187-216
- subjectivity; selfhood; injustice of slavery; repression of anger; enactment of resentment; forgiveness
- An ex-slave woman’s getting angry toward her slavemaster seems to be natural. Yet in Morrison’s novel Beloved, it turns out to be very difficult for the ex-slave woman Sethe to get angry toward her slavemaster Schoolteacher. Indeed, the novel’s main plot is to depict how Sethe comes to recognize the injustice of slavery and her own experience in the South as moral injury at which it is natural for her to direct her anger. Referring to literary critics and philosophers, who support that anger is an expression of the self’s sense of moral injury and of her claim of being equal with the one who has morally injured the self, this article purposes to show how Sethe regains her selfhood in relation to the racial other of white master by following the trajectory of her emotional responses to the injustice of slavery. In the beginning of the novel, Sethe feels sad about the past rather than being angry about the moral injury and the injustice of slavery. Being saturated with sad memories of her past, Sethe’s anger is repressed and displaced until her dead daughter Beloved returns and makes her remember her past expeirence of slavery on Sweet Home. Eventually, this article argues that it is not until Sethe enacts the anger toward the slavemaster that she comes to affirm her self and to be forgiven and embraced by the black community.