Black Chick Lit podcast discusses Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”

Hey Mocha Girls!

On the latest episode of the Black Chick Lit podcast, hosts Dani and Mollie held a riveting discussion on the classic Toni Morrison novel, “Beloved.”

Before we get into what they discussed, let me just start by praising the podcast. I genuinely love Dani and Mollie’s rapport! It’s like listening to two of your funny friends talk about literature, politics, music and life in general. It’s so refreshing and wonderful to see black women have a platform to speak on things that matter to them, while being able to cover a range of topics with equal amounts of intelligence, humor and wit. Needless to say, they’ve gained a new fan in me!

Now onto the novel. For those of you who haven’t read the book, “Beloved” follows a woman named Sethe who is fleeing slavery with her children. Upon realizing she and her kids may be captured again, she decides to kill her two year-old daughter, rather than having the young child endure the horrors of slavery. She buries the girl and can only afford to write the word “Beloved” on her tombstone. Years later, a young woman, who goes by the name Beloved, appears on her front step one day in Cincinnati, Ohio and Sethe takes her in. That woman is presumed to be the daughter she killed and has come back to haunt Sethe’s home. Over time, her presence takes a toll on Sethe and her other daughter, Denver.

Whether or not Beloved is an actual person or a ghost that has come back to haunt the family is open to interpretation. The ladies believe the most reasonable theory is that she is in fact a ghost, but they also reason that her ethereal status is not that big of a deal; her presence more importantly serves a reminder of the horrors of their circumstance. The big debate is whether she is a vengeful ghost, or an apparition mourning her family’s life. It’s difficult to determine, as there is evidence for both theories in the novel, which they dissect in the episode. The girls also discuss their favorite characters, like Ella, Paul D and Stamp Paid. While “Beloved” is rather sad and can be difficult to read, Dani and Mollie do a great job analyzing this “masterclass of fiction” about the real history and consequences of slavery.

Towards the end of the episode the ladies also announced their upcoming special collaboration with our group! Yay! To celebrate Black Chick Lit’s one year birthday, we are going to read a book chosen by Dani and Mollie’s podcast fans, followed by a live-tweeting event of the novel’s film adaptation. While our group will still be digging into our Book of the Month, we’ll also be joining these ladies for this fun project! Be sure to check in on our website for further information regarding the schedule for this event.

So have any of you ladies read “Beloved”? What impact did it have on you? Do you think Beloved is a real person or a ghost that’s come to haunt her mother? What similarities do you notice between “Beloved” and Colson Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad” in terms of prose, characters, or storytelling? Discuss in the comments section below! Thanks!

To learn more about Black Chick Lit and listen to other episodes, click here.

If you’ve never read “Beloved” and would like to own a copy, you can purchase the book here.

Happy Reading!

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Pascale Mondesir

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