The Ending of Toni Morrison’s Beloved

While the actual value of Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved, is debatable, there is no question that the ending that Morrison provides for her work is an acceptable one. Beloved details Morrison’s characters’ descent into fantasy, and as is often the case in novels, the ending ties up many of the loose ends, and pulls the characters back into reality, with the events of the novel seeming simply, “”?like an unpleasant dream during a troubling sleep”(324). On the other hand, while perhaps fitting and logical, Morrison’s ending is not perfect. Morrison’s style and storyline up until the ending is far from concrete, dealing with that which is implied, illusory, and symbolized, rather than what is plainly in view; she writes with suggestion rather than description. This pattern, however, is broken in the final chapter of Beloved. The narrator now, in the final chapter, takes a mainly external and therefore unemotional position, unlike earlier in Morrison’s work where the emotions, personalities, and often fractured thoughts of the characters would be included in the narration. Apparently outside the story, in the final chapter, the narrator blandly reports that, “”?they [had] forgotten her like a bad dream”?quickly and deliberately.”(323). In comparison to the suggestions of events previously occurring in the novel, such as when Sethe flees with her children, and “…[she] collected every bit of life she had made, all the parts of her that were precious and fine and beautiful, and carried, pushed, dragged them through the veil.”(233), the tired, run-of-the-mill account on page three hundred and twenty three seems almost as if it had been written by an entirely different author. This change in narration, while perhaps though of as trivial by some, adds a slight sense of discord to the ending, and leaves the reader slightly uncomfortable. The ending is, in comparison to the dreamy and chaotic storyline, too simple…

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