Masculinity In Toni Morrison's Beloved

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Hence, the murder of Beloved continues to produce corollaries eighteen years after the fact. With the introduction of a long-lost friend of Sethe’s from her days at the slave yard, Sweet Home, Paul D at first appears to be the liberator of Sethe from the shackles of her actions and the heavy weight of not only her child’s death. However, despite being the figure of black masculinity in Beloved, Paul D diverges from the archetypal male character in order to allow the novel to become a female narrative of psychological damage. By introducing Paul D as both a partner and liberator for Sethe, Morrison is able to display how deeply the psychological wounds run for Sethe, as well as turning the “rhetoric of heroic resolve common to male slave narratives into a text of courage drawn from a mother’s love for her children (Wyatt, 1993: 475). Morrison’s use of magical realism in the form of her daughter’s ghost is the catalyst for both the beginning and conclusion of Sethe’s relationship with Paul D. We learn that the ghost has haunted 124 Bluestone Road for eighteen years and Paul D banishes it in mere moments, consequently situating himself into the lives of both Sethe and her surviving daughter, Denver. Paul D becomes a symbol of Sethe not necessarily…show more content…
However, we slowly learn that Beloved is progressively manifesting as the ghost of Sethe herself, a physical manifestation of both her repressed identity and her all-consuming guilt. This representation of her internal state forces Sethe to “confront the gap between her motherlove and the realities of motherhood in slavery” (Krumholz, 1992: 400), thus facing both the violence at her own hands as well as the violence the universe had committed against her. Beloved steadfast refusal to forgive Sethe for her brutal act is a mere reflection of her internal ability to reconcile the atrocity committed at her own
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