Lesson Plan

Toni Morrison's Beloved: For Sixty Million and More

Toni Morrison speaking at The Town Hall, New York City, February 26, 2008
Photo caption

Toni Morrison speaking at The Town Hall, New York City, February 26, 2008.

“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” 

― Toni Morrison, Beloved

One of the most compelling novels of the twentieth century, Beloved by Toni Morrison has been read in classrooms and book clubs across the country since its publication in 1987. The following close reading and reflective activities are intended to guide thoughtful inquiry into the novel and its major themes, while also providing teachers and students with creative outlets for making connections with one of the great novels of the twentieth century.

Guiding Questions

How do characters use collective experiences, challenges, and memories to construct a sense of community?

How do we cope with trauma?

How do the supernatural and achronological elements of the narrative contribute to plot and thematic development?

Learning Objectives

Analyze how characters construct varied forms of community in response to tragedy and trauma.

Analyze themes and symbols used throughout the novel to make meaning of the text. 

Evaluate decisions made by characters by considering context, character development, and narrative structure. 

Synthesize interpretations of the text to create an original product that illustrates your understanding of the novel.