Additional Support for Teaching
“Structure and Narration in Toni Morrison’s Beloved

The following activity may be useful if you feel students need additional support in preparing to highlight the relationships between identity and perspective found in Beloved.

  1. Prepare a stack of notecards with alternating labels: general reader, burglar, and prospective homebuyer 

  2. Distribute the labeled cards randomly through the class and tell students to read “The House” from the perspective found on the notecard. Ask students record the most important details from the passage on the back of their respective notecard.

  3. Display a copy of “The House” on the overhead projector. 

  4. Facilitate a class discussion in which all reader identities are highlighted.  Call on students of varied perspectives to lead them to discover that because they have read the same material from different perspectives, different (though equally valid) interpretations about what is important in text will surface.

  5. If you wish to extend this activity, have students write three different narratives beginning with “School has been cancelled today due to snow” from three different perspectives:  teacher, parent, and student.  Ask students to share their narratives, explaining how the identity of their perspective shaped the details they chose to include and the attitudes they chose to convey.  

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