First Advisor

Michael Clark

Date of Award

Spring 6-16-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English and University Honors






Literary Criticism, Literature Review, Psychoanalysis, Beloved, Toni Morrison


Toni Morrison’s Beloved was first published in 1987 and has amassed a wide range of scholarship throughout the years; with some literary scholars using psychoanalysis to suggest a reading of Beloved. Because of the volume of scholarship and Beloved’s plot—dealing with a mother who represses the memory of killing her daughter, Beloved—I found it to be perfect for the scope of this project. This literature review focuses on the sometimes reductive qualities of psychoanalyzing Beloved (such as the Freudian universal psychoanalytic subject, and the ‘drawbacks’ of object relations theory), while also discussing some revelatory qualities via the same approach. This literature review is the first step in a larger project concerned with the pervasiveness of psychoanalysis in literary criticism and media studies; and the involvement of psychoanalytic theories in the formulation of (what is called) ‘Insta-poetry’ and in contemporary films, such as Wolf (Biancheri, 2021) and Smile (Finn, 2022).