Cruelty In Toni Morrison's Beloved Literary Analysis

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An American is sexually assaulted every 107 seconds. Furthermore, these victims are then 3 times more likely to suffer depression and 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (“Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network Statistics,” n.d.). Likewise, in the novel Beloved, the perpetrators, leave their victims physically and emotionally damaged. The perpetrators Beloved and the community, portray various acts of cruelty such as their inhumane treatment towards Paul D. and Sethe. These actions showcase how cruelty ultimately demoralizes the characters. As a result, the characters try not to dwell in the past, but instead use their past hardships as their motivation to move forward. For example, although Sethe is unable to…show more content…
When Paul D. first arrives at 124, he decides to try to forget the past and instead create a future as he tells Sethe that he wants to start a new life with her. Although, when Beloved comes into the picture, she ruins all his chances of being with Sethe. The narrator tells the readers that “She [Beloved] moved him [Paul D.]” (114) to explain how Paul D. is being manipulated by Beloved. She first starts off by physically moving him through the house. This causes Paul D. to start to feel powerless as Beloved starts to continue to control him more and more. Paul D. begins to feel more and more uneasy and starts to sleep from place to place and then finally settles on moving to the shed to sleep. One day, Beloved goes into the shed and orders him by saying, “You have to touch me. On the inside part. And you have to call me my name” (117). This is an important scene in the novel because the readers realize that Beloved is much more stronger than Paul D.. This scene if considered a major act of cruelty because Beloved does this with the intention of sabotaging his relationship with Sethe. Beloved does these cruel acts towards Paul D., for her own benefit because she knows that in order to have Sethe for herself, she has to get Paul D. out of the way. As a result of Paul D. having sex with her, he says, “Red heart. Red…show more content…
The slaves are demoralizes by their perpetrators inhumane acts against them. These acts of cruelty portrayed throughout the novel, cause the characters to act defensively with another cruel act. Slavery can be seen as the main reason for all the cruel events throughout the novel because it is what triggered the characters to perform their own acts of cruelty themselves. Such as how Sethe tried to kill all her children. She may justify this as act of love so that they do not go through the hardships of slavery, but it does not change the fact that she may have dodged slavery as an act of cruelty, but she performed her own act of cruelty by killing Beloved. Other examples would be the residents of 124 being ostracized that led to Beloved death, Paul D. closing his heart to his painful past which had demoralized him, and to Sethe killing Beloved and not being able to have a fulfilling life after it. All in all, the cruel events did not stay in the past but were brought to the present, in a sense that the characters were unable to let go of their past
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