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Exploring Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in Select Novels of Toni Morrison


Roxana Khanom, Associate Professor, Department of English, Government Brajalal College, Khulna, Bangladesh

Violence against African American females, young and old, is an irresistible concern in the novels of Toni Morrison. Her best fictional pieces, ‘The Bluest Eye’, ‘Beloved’, and ‘God Help the Child’ are the vibrant spotlight of domestic violence and child abuse in variegated natures. Toni Morrison has dealt profusely with all sorts of child maltreatment in her oeuvre.

In many of her narratives, Morrison weaves a tangled web of childhood trauma stories, in which all the characters have suffered some kind of abuse like racial discrimination, neglect, witnessing domestic violence, emotional and psychological abuse, molestation, sexual exploitation, verbal abuse, etc. She shows how the child’s exposure to traumatic experiences has far-reaching negative effects on adulthood, such as psychological, emotional, behavioral, and social. Morrison explores the curse of the past, the legacy of slavery and its aftermath, and its hold on the present, through the sociocultural phenomenon. Racism and intra-racial discrimination based on skin color result in childhood trauma. The sexual abuse of Pecola, the girl desiring the bluest eye by her drunken father has been very vividly picturized in the backdrop of racial conflict in ‘The Bluest Eye’. Morrison’s ‘Beloved’ fictionized the gruesome murder of an infant with a jigsaw by her mother, Sethe only to avoid escaping a slave. God Help the Child chronicled the ramifications of child abuse and neglect through the tale of Bride, a black girl with dark skin being born to light-skinned parents. Moreover, magic realism, socio-political aspects, and Toni Morrison’s lucid narratives provide ultra energy promoting her vivid message.

Keywords: Domestic violence, Child abuse, Magic realism, Childhood trauma, Racism, Discrimination, Exploration


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How to Cite

APA 7th Edition

Khanom, R. (2023). Exploring Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in Select Novels of Toni Morrison. BL College Journal5(2), 81-91.

MLA 9th Edition 

Khanom, Roxana. “Exploring Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in Select Novels of Toni Morrison.” BL College Journal, vol. 5, no. 2, Dec. 2023, pp. 81-91.


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