托妮·莫里森于年创作的《宠儿》是一部描写生活在美国19世纪70年代的“前黑奴”的小说。这部小说运用多重叙述声音和倒叙等手法，把过去与现在、梦幻与现实交织在一起，不仅真实地再现了黑奴们在奴隶制下所遭受的种种非人的待遇，而且深刻地揭露了这些黑奴们在精神上所遭受的摧残与伤害，这些伤害阻碍了他们寻求个人价值和个人身份确认。 《宠儿》中充满了主人公寻求黑人自我身份的声音，这些声音用不同的方式歌唱着重建曾被奴隶制剥夺的身份这一主题，形成同意或反对、肯定和补充、问和答的对话关系。因此，本论文选用俄国文艺理论家巴赫金的复调理论，分析美国黑人女作家托妮·莫里森的小说《宠儿》。 复调理论有助于读者关注《宠儿》中每个独立的、具有充分价值的声音，尤其是白人占统治地位的社会中弱势群体的声音，从而分析和揭示一直阻碍主人公塞丝以及那些和她有同样遭遇的黑人们寻求个人价值和个人身份确认的心理及文化上的原因。 复调理论为《宠儿》中主人公的身份确认提供了一条出路，那就是主人公之间、黑人内部之间、黑人与白人之间展开平等的对话。对话的过程是一个异中求同、同中求异的双向运动过程。 本文共分三部分。第一部分，作者梳理了巴赫金复调理论的内涵。指出巴赫金的复调理论(亦称对话理论)充满着人文精神。它关注每一个独立的、具有充分价值的声音。这些声音用不同的方式歌唱着同一主题，展现多声部性、人物性格和作品结构的开放性、未完成性等特点。对话在文本分析中具体分为微型对话和大型对话。第二部分，简要介绍了托妮·莫里森的生平及其作品，以及《宠儿》的主要人物和情节，并回顾了《宠儿》的国内外研究情况。第三部分，作者用巴赫金的复调理论对《宠儿》进行了具体分析。首先，托妮·莫里森将非洲的传统文化与主流文化相融合，创造了一种具有多重声音的文本结构。托妮·莫里森利用非洲文化和西方白人文化之间的对话性来寻求解决非洲黑人文化的认同与获取黑人身份的办法。其次，展现了小说主要人物寻求自我身份的声音。 《宠儿》体现了托妮·莫里森对保持其民族文化的主体性所做的尝试与努力，这对我们在全球化时代如何继承和发扬中华民族文化传统也是有启示意义的。
The book follows the story of blacks Sethe (pronounced "Seth-uh") and her daughter Denver as they try to rebuild their lives after having escaped from slavery. One day, a young lady shows up at their house, saying that her name is "Beloved." Sethe comes to believe that the girl is another of her daughters, whom Sethe murdered by slitting her throat with a handsaw when she was only two years old to save her from a life of slavery, and whose tombstone reads "Beloved." It was thought, at first, that Beloved"s real name was Liz Granacher, but that is shown to be false later. Beloved"s return consumes Sethe to the point where she ignores her other daughter and even her own needs, while Beloved becomes more and more demanding. Paul D. and Charlie McKnight know that Beloved is evil, but do nothing out of fear.
The novel follows in the tradition of slave narratives, but also confronts the more painful and taboo aspects of slavery, such as sexual abuse and violence. Morrison feels these issues were avoided in the traditional slave narratives. In the novel, she explores the effects on the characters, Paul D and Sethe, of trying to repress - and then come to terms with - the painful memories of their past.
Beloved is a novel based on the impact of slavery and of the emancipation of slaves on indivial black people. There are several themes that remain central to the novel:
The concept of motherhood within Beloved is as an overarching and overwhelming love that can conquer all, strongly typified within the novel by the character Sethe, whose very name is the feminine of "Seth"- the Biblical "father of the world". This can also be seen within Morrison"s other works and has led to her sometimes being cited as a feminist writer. The feminine capacity for love is maximal: "It hurt her when mosquitoes bit her baby". Further, Sethe"s escape from the slave plantation (ironically named "Sweet Home") stems from her desire to keep the "mother of her children alive" and not from any personal survival instinct. Sethe"s maternal instincts almost lead to her own destruction. We can here assume the interpretation that Beloved is a wrathful character looking to wreak revenge on Sethe for killing her, despite the fact that the murder was, in Sethe"s mind, an entirely loving act. Sethe"s guilt at Beloved"s death means that she is willing to "give up her life, every minute, hour and second of it, to take back just one of Beloved"s tears". Further, toward the end of the novel, "Beloved didn"t move, said, "Do it", and Sethe complied". The strength of her love leads her almost to the point of death as she allows Beloved to take her revenge.---
Toni Morrison wrote Beloved on a foundation of historical events. The most significant event within the novel--the "Misery", or Sethe"s murder of Beloved--is based on an actual historical event. In , Margaret Garner murdered her children to prevent them from being recaptured and taken back into slavery with the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of . Morrison admits to "an obsession" with this account after she discovered it while helping edit a scrapbook on black history. The novel itself can be seen as the reworking of fact into something with a very emotional central message. History is woven throughout the novel. The Middle Passage is referenced along with the Underground Railway in many parts of the novel; the "Sixty Million and More" to whom Morrison dedicates the novel may refer to the many who died ring the Middle Passage. The entire concept of the slavery described in the novel: Paul D"s confinement in Georgia, ideas such as the "bit" and the legislature described are all based on history. This gives the novel a powerful impact.
Beloved"s appearance reawakens memories of slavery among the other characters, and they are forced to deal with their past instead of trying to repress their memories. Reincarnation and rebirth are also themes in this novel.
Again, the concept of manhood is important within Beloved. Paul D is the only developed example of a male character, and is "the kind of man who could walk into a house and make the women cry. Because with him, in his presence, they could cry and tell him things they only told each other". He is, however, emotionally crippled and is forced to keep his emotions locked inside a "tobacco tin"- a box "rusted t." This is a metaphor for the way in which he must control his feelings to survive. During the chain-gang period, his hands uncontrollably shake until he can learn to trap his emotions and effectively lock them away. It takes Beloved to release him, shown by the uncontrolled repetition of "Red Heart. Red Heart..." Within the novel, the male is significantly weaker than the female, one reason being there is no other developed male character other than Paul D to test the strength of women in the novel against, all others being the past oppressors of Sethe and other former slaves. Paul D cannot cope with the extreme demonstration of love exemplified by Sethe"s murder of Beloved and leaves. Still, the book ends with Paul D coming back "to put his story next to hers", a display of his courage and mature love, if crippled by his slavery ordeal. Leaving the readers without ultimate answers, Toni Morrison concludes on a hopeful note, with Paul D trying to explain troubled and past-obsessed Sethe that "[she is her] best thing."
The most strongly ambiguous character within the novel is Beloved. The first interpretation of her character is that she is a supernatural, incarnate form of Sethe"s murdered daughter. The second is of her as, as Stamp Paid puts it, "a girl locked up by a white man over by Deer Creek. Found him dead last summer and the girl gone. Maybe that"s her". Both are supportable by the text. The concept that Beloved is the re-incarnated child is supported by her knowledge of the song that "nobody knows but me and my children" and her knowledge of Sethe"s earrings, but it is also true that the characters have a psychological need for Beloved- Sethe can assuage her guilt over the death of her child, and Denver gains a playmate, or even more. The reader is forced to be active rather than passive and is made to work to discover what is going on. The emphasis is on interpretation rather than on what the author says.