Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Karem, Jeff

Subject Headings

Morrison, Toni, Beloved -- Criticism and interpretation, Historical fiction, American -- History and criticism, American fiction -- African American authors -- History and criticism, Toni Morrison, Beloved, ghost, apparition, incarnation, magical realism, slavery, genre, hybridization, false reduction, symbolic association, Margaret Garner


While Morrison's Beloved uses apparitions as symbolic association for slavery, the totality of what the incarnation of Beloved represents has been minimized by critics. Various genres are circulating in Beloved: magical realism, the historical novel, the gothic novel, and the ghost story. However, potential problems arise when attempting to pigeonhole the novel into simply one genre this is too limiting and nullifies a critic's insight by disregarding other possible dimensions within the text. Beloved moves through genres as it progresses and more attention needs to be paid to this shift. The narrative begins as a ghost story, but switches genres once the ghost incarnates this pushes the text into magical realism, while still based on a historic episode. An eradication of the possible dimensions of the text diminishes the novel to a false reduction. A comingling and hybridizing of genre evolution is essential, otherwise ownership of the novel is lost