Traumatic Speech Acts in Toni Morrison’s Beloved

  •  Tamsila Naeem    
  •  Zafar Iqbal Bhatti    
  •  M. Asad Habib    


This qualitative study aims to scrutinize the traumatic effects of rhetorical and political excitable speech acts in Toni Morrison’s most commended novel Beloved, which presents haunting situations of slavery in USA. The novel demonstrates that the white masters attempt to interpellate the minds of the black slaves in order to make them recognize that they are sub-human creatures. These interpellative forces consequence in life time enslavement of the victims, since they never come out of the traumatic effects of the verbal abuse, they were victimized with. The data are collected from Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved, which presents haunting situations in which the black slaves after their freedom, evoke in their mind traumatic memories of their slavery. In order to examine the traumatic speech acts, relevant excerpts were taken through purposive sampling under the method of content analysis. The applied theoretical model is based on Judith Butler’s postulates about burning speech acts presented in her famous book, Excitable Speech. The analysis of the selected traumatic speech acts shows that the pricking state of the victims’ self and ego traumatize them even after they get freedom. They repeat the injurious speech acts and atrocities of the white masters to further aggravate the situations through traumatic speech acts.

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