Tag Archives: Sethe

A Psychoanalytic Reading in Toni Morrison’s Beloved: Trauma, Hysteria and Electra Complex (Published)

Psychoanalysis seems to be the most suitable approach to analyze and interpret Toni Morrison’s Beloved. Freud is the founder of this theory in which he was able to explain human behavior through dreams and unconscious symptoms. Beloved is recognized as one of the most modern novels to apply psychoanalysis theories. In this research, I am going to explain these theories in the novel through characters and some important incidents that occurred in a great part of the novel. Sethe is the central character in the novel , she was influenced by her actions, especially killing her innocent daughter. It was evident that she had experienced a harsh treatment in her past. She suffers from slavery, oppression and raping in  Mr.Garner Sweet Home in Kentucky. Trauma, hysteria, Oedipal complex are very clear to readers as psychological symptoms in Beloved. Many critics have written and discussed the theories of psychoanalysis in the novel such as Kristin Boudreau in her article “Pain and the unmaking of self in Toni Morrison’s Beloved”. She asserted that” People attempted to find an outlet to help them to clear out their painful experiences and hurtful past”. Sethe released her negative emotions and her stored desires by killing her innocent daughter. In the end, Many readers believe Morrison’s novels are the establishment of her envisioned tradition. She challenges and requires the reader to accept her on her own terms.


Keywords: Holocaust, Hysteria, Psychoanalysis, Sethe, Slavery, oedipal complex