The Institution of Slavery and (Black) Motherhood: a Case Study in Toni Morrison's Novels
This paper analyses the institution of slavery in the United States and its effect on black motherhood in Toni Morrison's novels Beloved (1987) and A Mercy (2008). Set in culturally and politically specific conditions, Morrison's novels offer a reflection of the slave past, thus exposing the various patterns of enslavement. While Beloved tells a story of a slave mother who murdered her child as a desperate response to the horrors of slavery, A Mercy provides personal histories of four women who are not factual, but rather symbolical slaves. The analysis will reveal the strategies such as shared sisterhood and the power of community which proved to be necessary for survival of these women in a society with gender, racial and sexual oppression.