124 In Toni Morrison's Beloved

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In the novel, 124 is a prominent symbol that is instrumental in developing Morrison’s theme, an individual’s acts of vengeance can mask that person’s desire for acceptance. Although Beloved reaches out to Sethe through 124 in acts of revenge, her ultimate goal is to reunite with her mother, who essentially thought to spare her daughter from the horrors of slavery.
The very first sentence of the book tells that “124 was spiteful,” setting the initial tone of the novel to be malicious (Morrison 3). At this point in time, Beloved has been murdered, depicting the house and everything going on in Sethe’s life to be unsettling. Beloved personifies the house, giving it character, proven through the “white dress [that] knelt down next to [Denver’s] mother… (the dress) helping out the other” (Morrison 35).
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The intensity of 124’s volume was a result of Beloved’s spirit attacking Sethe’s mind and soul. As Stamp Paid approaches the house, he trusts his instincts to “guide him in and through the stepped-up haunting 124 was subject to, as evidenced by the voices he [hears] from the road” (Morrison 201). These voices are both metaphorical, through Beloved’s loud spirit controlling Sethe’s emotions, as well as physical, through the three women of the house starting a new joyful life together, laughing at themselves with no one around to judge them. Yet, the beginning of part two in this book is also foreshadowing the torment Beloved causes Sethe. Their laughter turns to chaos as Beloved executes her original plan of returning: revenge on Sethe. All the while, Beloved is distracted by her need for revenge on her mother, taking advantage of the attention Sethe gives her. Instead of realizing that this attention is all she really desires, Beloved takes a turn for the worse, slowly wearing her loving mother
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