The Importance of Storytelling

Throughout her novel, Beloved, Toni Morrison portrays the importance of storytelling. It is essential to the novel as it serves as a way to communicate memories among the characters. One of the ways in which memories live on is through storytelling. 

As Sethe tells Denver about her family and her remarkable birth, Denver is able to develop a sense of personal history and heritage. Storytelling allows memories to stay alive especially among characters such as Sethe, Baby Suggs, Paul D, and Denver. These personal memories create a shared tradition about the past and provide slaves the ability to tell their own story. This ultimately allows slaves to define themselves rather than constantly being defined by slave-owners. 

Although storytelling brings people together, it can also bring back horrific memories. For Sethe and Paul D, their memories as slaves continue to haunt them, which can prevent them from moving on. At the end of the novel, Morrison repeats, “It was not a story to pass on” (324). This suggests that after Beloved’s disappearance, people had to forget about her in order to live on with their lives. Morrison’s story of Beloved conveys that there is value in learning about this painful story of the past because it is important to remember the history of slavery.

4 thoughts on “The Importance of Storytelling

  1. Katie V.

    Beloved being vanished after being seen by a community of people was powerful to me. I think it shows how painful memories that fester within a person, or family, have more power than those that are acknowledged by a group. The shadows of the memory remain but they can’t destroy you the way trauma kept secret can.


  2. mayap

    Your comments about the importance of stories are very interesting. This reminds me of when I was talking to my parents about how I dislike history and I didn’t want to take a history class. I remember them explaining to me that it was important for everyone to take these classes because if we don’t learn about the past then things can repeat and we won’t be able to learn from past mistakes.



    I like how you showed the 2 sides that some people might love storytelling and that others it might bring back burried pain and I thought that was great to add.


  4. Paige M

    I think storytelling is such an important part of the novel. I really liked your point that while storytelling brings people closer, it could also bring back painful memories. I think this idea is really reflected in the book, specifically when Sethe and Beloved were bonding over Sethe’s stories, yet at the same time, these stories were bringing back Sethe’s painful/buried memories.


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