Throughout Toni Morrison's story Beloved, there are many occurrences of unspeakable acts. The way Morrison portrays these acts, usually through dialogue, is subtle and not gruesome. She has the acts explained very respectfully without demeaning the situation, or the person, even more. All the unspeakable acts Toni Morrison proclaims assists in showing the horrors that African Americans had to go through during slavery.
To begin, throughout Morrison's story she shows how African Americans were treated worse than animals were. They were feed old, stale, moldy food just like animals: "The bread is sea-colored" (249). Hundreds of them were crammed into small areas just like animals: "I cannot fall because there is no room to" (249). They were chained down so that they could not move just like animals: "The iron circle is around our neck" (250). Essentially, in one part of the story Paul D states how a rooster was freer than he was: "Mister, he looked sofree. Better than me. Stronger, tougher" (86). The fact that these humans were treated worse than animals, and animals were treated better than humans, is upsetting. The harsh conditions that slaves had to live through was not humanitarian. They were kept in barns that had a dirt floor that they slept on. Some of the barns had holes in the ground that the slaves slept in, essentially they would sleep in their own graves. They were forced to work sunup to sundown every day in hot fields and were not given water to stay hydrated and healthy. Most of the slaves worked for cruel slave-owners, or overseers, who treated them extremely poorly and would physically, and mentally, abuse the slaves often. The slaves lived under very strict command with firm rules. If these rules were broken they were beaten or even killed. They could not run away because if they were caught they were returned to the salve-owner who would punish them or kill them.