Essay In Toni Morrison's Beloved

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As she takes on power in the lives of Sethe and Paul D, Beloved comes to represent an alluring, goddess-like figure that exerts a overwhelming control over those around her. As Paul D starts to spend more time in her presence, he becomes unsettled by his attraction to her. Morrison writes, “Beloved was shining and Paul D didn’t like it… [He] took to having Sethe on waking, so that later, when he went down the white stairs where she made bread under Beloved’s gaze, his head was clear” (76). Paul D is confused by Beloved’s sexual energy, and her allure distracts him so thoroughly that he must sleep with Sethe immediately to dispel his interfering thoughts. Quickly, however, Beloved successfully seduces him, and he is disgusted to find himself…show more content…
By attracting him in this way, Paul feels as though she has seized his right to make decisions and lead his own life: A grown man fixed by a girl? But what if the girl was not a girl, but something in disguise? A lowdown something that looked like a sweet young girl and fucking her or not was not the point, it was not being able to stay or go where he wished in 124, and the danger was in losing Sethe because he was not man enough to break out, so he needed her, Sethe, to help him…and it shamed him to ask the woman he wanted to protect to help him...God damn it to hell. (149) Here, Beloved’s captivating power mirrors that of slavery. Just like in his earlier life, Paul D feels humiliated by his fundamental lack of power or control, and he is unable to appear strong or masculine even to the woman he loves. Paul D also recognizes that it is not Beloved’s sexual allure in itself that is so devastating, but the oppressive institution of her power as a whole. Furthermore, he brings up the idea that her superficial image of a “sweet young girl” is deceptive, and that it hides something more sinister (149). At the climax of her novel, Morrison employs similar imagery to emphasize this captivating, disturbing energy that Beloved conceals through her appearance. The
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