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Banned Book Review: Beloved

December 20, 2005

42. Beloved by Toni Morrison

Reason: Beloved contains incest, rape, pedophilia, graphic sex, extreme violence, sexual abuse, physical/emotional abuse, infanticide, and an extensive amount of profanity. The first two chapters contain five references to sex with cows in addition to other types of sex.

Beloved is the kind of book that you can’t read in one sitting.  There is simply too much story to this book.  It must be taken in small chunks, digested, and turned over in the mind.  It is dense with symbolism, passion, and pain.  This is not a book to pick up lightly.
The story involves an escaped slave woman, Sethe, and the people who surround her.  Former slaves who ran from their bonds, former slaves who were bought from them, the children she saved from them, and the child she killed to keep her from them.  This dead daughter haunts the house Sethe inhabits, first in child ghost form, and then in the form of a living breathing woman.  The pains which drove the various characters to their place in life are played out, one secret at a time.  Like most of Morrison’s novels, Beloved is a complex puzzle of a story which must be pieced together as you read.

And yes, some of the characters have sex with cows, as an alternative to rape.

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