In 1856, Margaret Garner, an enslaved woman, escaped to freedom with her husband and four young children. They travelled from Boone County, Kentucky to Ohio. When confronted by slave catchers and U.S. Marshals and facing return to her enslaver, Margaret made the ultimate sacrifice. This true story inspired Toni Morrison’s haunting novel Beloved.
In this course we will spend four weeks reading and discussing the novel. In it the author reimagines Margaret’s story through Sethe, who is living with shadows from her past. We will discuss Morrison’s representations of mothers and daughters, memories, and community. We will also explore some of the questions the novel raises: What are the consequences of Margaret’s decision? How do she and those around her survive the aftermath? Is it possible to atone for past acts?