Themes Of Violence And Authorial Violence Essay

1096 Words Dec 15th, 2014 5 Pages
In chapter 11 of “How to Read Literature Like a Professor,” Foster explains how violence in literature usually means more than just a punch. There are two kinds of violence: character caused violence and authorial violence. Character caused violence is any type of violence in which there is a guilty party. Even if it is not a direct group, there is still someone or something to blame. Shootings, stabbings, drowning, poisonings, bombings, starvation, etc are all examples of character caused violence. Authorial violence is when death and suffering is introduced in which the characters are not responsible. They are usually introduced for plot advancement or thematic development. Heart disease, slow death, and loss of abilities are all examples of authorial violence.
In Toni Morrison’s “Beloved,” Sethe, an escaped slave, and her children live in slave owning Kentucky. If they are caught, they will be forced back into slavery. In a last attempt to save her children from slavery she tries to kill both of them, but only succeeds in killing one. The murdered child returns as a ghostly figure and tells Sethe she is more than just a child lost to violence, but one of “sixty million and more” (50). The only escape from the violent life as a slave turns into infanticide because Sethe would rather have her children dead than forced into slavery. An entire race of people were subjected to these horrors, but there was nothing else Sethe could do. According to Foster violence can be…

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