Uncertainty in Literature…and other places…

Often in literature, the author might leave many things uncertain. Some authors like to bash the reader in the head with what they are trying to say. For example, Mary Shelly in her work Frankenstein or Milton’s Paradise Lost. That is not always the case however. In Toni Morrison’s Beloved, a story about a African American woman that escapes from slavery, there is much uncertainty. You can almost never figure out what is happening. There are so many ways to interpret the text and so many different feelings that the reader feels, that the reader just feels in a jumble. Not only is the action of the story uncertain- for the time of the book will shift back and forth until you feel like you are in the nightmare world that the main characters are in- but the feelings that the reader has are extremely uncertain. On one hand, you often feel sympathy for the horrors that the slaves go through. On the other hand, when you realize that the slave men are talking about having sex with cows and are fantasying about raping a young teenage girl, you still feel a little sympathetic to be honest, but you are really just disgusted and horrified, and confused and a little angry. To be honest, when reading the book, half the time I don’t know what to feel. The book is well written because I think that was what Morrison wanted to do. She wanted to focus on African American history and put it out in the open. This was what really happened and how slaves really lived and reacted. She was not trying to sugar coat it and make you just feel so sorry for the slaves. While you do sometimes, she also wanted you to feel other emotions- anger, disgust, wonder, confusion. She wanted you to feel these jumble of emotions and uncertainty in how you feel because that was often the life and mind of a slave. Plus, because you are uncertain of what you feel, you will want to keep reading- to try and figure out what is going on. She is not attempting to slap you in the face with what she is saying though- you are supposed to figure out her meaning. I may not have completely figured out what she is trying to say though. But I am sure that I feel uncertain in the text and in what is going on.

I can’t beleive
What you have done to me
My eyes they don’t deceive
Why aren’t you listening

We’re standing here
Your mouth stays closed
I’m still not clear
Why you left me standing here

You’re leaving me
Despite this tradgedy
My ears they don’t deceive
Why aren’t you coming clean

I always thought that you would always be a friend to me
I never thought that you would end up my worst enemy
Don’t trust the lies that’s leading us into uncertainties
So full of jelousy I trust for you not trusting me

Don’t be afraid to be yourself
Your confidence will always mend
Don’t be afraid to be yourself
Don’t be afraid to fight again

We’re standing here
Rejection; out of reach
It’s still not clear
Why you left me standing here


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1 Comment

  1. Lots of technology here, however, some of it is unrelated….the connections between the comic (very funny) and Beloved I do not understand….maybe you save the comic strips for a different posting?
    You also need to comment of the lyrics AFTER I read them…a conclusion. How does Morrision’s rejection of you, the reader, make a contribution to uncertainty as a lens to view the work….does this uncertainty damage her credibitlity or your confidence…you imply, but do not state.


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