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Why should you read Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”? - Yen Pham

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Two tiny handprints stamped into a cake. A mirror that shatters without warning. A trail of cracker crumbs strewn along the floor. Everyone at 124 Bluestone Road knows their home is haunted— but there’s no mystery about the spirit tormenting them. So begins “Beloved,” Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama. Yen Pham digs into the novel's exploration of the dehumanizing effects of slavery.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Yen Pham
  • Director Héloïse Dorsan Rachet
  • Narrator Christina Greer, Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Sound Designer Spencer Ward
  • Music Salil Bhayani
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Script Editor Iseult Gillespie
  • Fact-Checker Eden Girma
  • See more
Additional Resources for you to Explore
In an interview with the Paris Review, Toni Morrison described her writing process and motivations throughout her career, as well as why she wanted to be known first and foremost as an African-American writer, over and above being known as a great novelist. Her initial inspiration for character of Sethe came from a New York Times obituary that explored the life of Margaret Garner. When she won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993, Morrison delivered a lecture that gives us more insight into her ideas and ways of speaking and writing. This PBS Newshour lesson describes what we can learn from Morrison’s writing, and it includes a collection of video clips of interviews from the author’s career where she discusses white supremacy, the role of the writer, and the white gaze. Toni Morrison’s lasting influence can be seen in writer Doreen St. Felix’s reflections on what reading Morrison meant to her as a young black girl.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Yen Pham
  • Director Héloïse Dorsan Rachet
  • Narrator Christina Greer, Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Sound Designer Spencer Ward
  • Music Salil Bhayani
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Script Editor Iseult Gillespie
  • Fact-Checker Eden Girma
  • See more