Retrieving Communal Memory from Oblivion: Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” and “A Mercy”

By C. L. Shilaja and Rennet Samson.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Toni Morrison’s writing in novels attempts to construct a communal memory for her readers and characters. Morrison herself explains in an interview with Paul Gilroy that “she writes with a specific aim in order to enlighten black people” (Gilroy 181). Morrison endeavors to reconnect present day African American readers to their historical and cultural past. Communal memory is what we find in her novels as an integral part necessary for providing historical and cultural context, but also for reversing the shame and stigma which the system of slavery has inflicted on Afro-Americans. Therefore, sharing stories and exchanging experiences with one another is a source of enrichment and healing, as we find in “Beloved” and “A Mercy.” Morrison’s perspective of communal memory can be stated as entirely cross cultural. It is a culture which is constructed from integrated and mutually influencing African and American cultural strands, which together create a new and distinct culture. This article focuses on healing made through communal memory by bearing witness to the lives of slaves which have remained untold or unremembered.

Keywords: Communal Memory, Retrieve, Sharing Stories, Healing

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 11, pp.1-8. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 749.056KB).

Dr. C. L. Shilaja

Research Scholar, Department of English, Sathyabama University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Shilaja C.L. is doing research on American literature at Sathyabama University. She is pursuing her studies in comparative literature on Toni Morrison and Louise Erdrich. Her interests include sketching a parallel study on both authors, and making presentations on the same. She has made a number of presentations in her research area including one at ICSSH 2011.

Dr. Rennet Samson

Assistant Professor, Department of English, Ethiraj College for Women, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Dr. Rennet Samson is a well-reputed supervisor with 25 years of teaching experience in the field of literature. She completed her Doctor of Philosophy on Jerome K. Jerome. She is currently guiding Ms. Shilaja C.L. on her research in comparative literature.


There are currently no reviews of this product.

Write a Review