Anger In Beloved Essay Research Paper Affect

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Anger In Beloved Essay, Research Paper Affect Analysis: Anger in Beloved Anger, in all its sometimes raw, sometimes subtle, sometimes simple and sometimes sophisticated glory is an affect, which from the first line of Toni Morrison’s Beloved (”124 was spiteful”) takes center stage. The true multi-faceted nature of this affect often goes unrealized because we tend to recognize an emotion through its responses. Anger, in most minds is married to aggression and violence and we usually only acknowledge its presence when it is accompanied by these mates. Anger is also often obscured by specifics on the intensity, justification, and manifestation of the emotional state. For example, anger is defined as rage when we want to suggest a loss of self-control from violence of

emotion; we use fury when defining an overmastering destructive rage that can verge on madness; Indignation is used to stress righteous anger at what one considers unfair, mean, or shameful and the term wrath is employed when we want to suggest a desire or intent to revenge or punish. The causes of anger such as jealousy, betrayal, indignation, and resentment are also emotions that further mask this deceptively complex affect. Under Tomkins’ broad, liberating definition of anger, however, anger is both necessarily general and abstract. It both “fails to inform us of the particularities of its activator” and “is free to combine with any stimulus” so that the affect is neither limited by its causes nor its responses. Tomkins also clarifies responses to anger by

distinguishing them into four broad categories. In his ’sculptor model’ of anger detailed on p.212-221, he explains responses to anger as resulting from the nuclear scripts which he labels celebratory, defensive, counteractive, and reparative. Using these new tools, I hope to re-examine anger in the context of Beloved and possibly gain new insight into the characters and the affect along the way. The first instance of anger we come across in Beloved is perhaps the most clearly identifiable. It is the pure, raw fury of the ‘crawling already’ baby towards Sethe. It is characterized by uncontrolled violence – the breaking of mirrors and the thrashing about of furniture and dogs. This response follows a counteractive script during which an individual who has been

terrorized, humiliated, or distressed attempts to terrorize, humiliate or distress the other. “The negative affects usually involved in this script are the ‘masculine affects’ of anger, disgust and dismell.” (Tomkins, p.218). We know that the baby is trying to lash out directly at Sethe, the perceived cause of her anger. This becomes clearer later in the novel when Beloved expresses her anger by choking Sethe in the clearing and by dominating and abusing her at the end of the novel. The counteractive script is also practiced in a more subtle sense by the whole of the black community against Baby Suggs and Sethe. Through a complex and interesting irony, the celebration Baby Suggs plans in honor of her daughter-in-law’s safe arrival somehow turns the community against

her. The 90 people who assembled at her house for the feast “ate so well and laughed so much, it made them angry.” (Morrison, p.137). Their collective indignation that Baby Suggs and her kin, who suffered less than they, should be allowed so much is so powerful, its “scent lay heavy in the air”. It was in response to this anger, Stamp Paid later explains on p.156, that the community chose not to warn anyone in 124 that the four strange white men with “the look” were approaching. They responded to their anger by directly revenging the perceived source of their anger. It is interesting to note here that the counteractive script response is represented by a baby and a mass group. This seems fitting as the counteractive script is the most instinctual, and most primitive