Beloved Questions and Answers
by Toni Morrison

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In Toni Morrison's Beloved, are female slaves treated differently, or worse, than men? 

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Female slaves in Toni Morrison's novel Beloved suffer more than male slaves, because they are doubly oppressed: first as slaves, and then as women in a patriarchal, masculine society.  Their experience as slaves is unique in many ways compared to the male experience, since gender roles were still being strongly reinforced in that world. One can argue that their treatment is worse because of the fact that people in positions of power will not easily relinquish that power.  For example, white men are not willing to relinquish their power or privilege, and male slaves might exert power over female slaves in order to keep what little power, or illusion of power, they are able to exercise. As male slaves, they would always have more freedoms than female slaves, because of the simple truth that being male comes with different expectations. 

The novel explores the concept of African American culture and the reclamation by African American women of an identity that had been either forgotten, or...

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