The past is something that has a chance to either remind someone of good times, or haunt them for life. For Sethe, the main character of the novel Beloved by Toni Morrisson, the past was just that; a constant reminder of the brutality that she had to endure during her time at Sweet Home. Through the course of the novel Sethe recalls her traumatic experiences in Sweet Home, the plantation she stayed at, and is consistently taken back from her past, blocking her from continuing with a brighter future. Sethe has issues with moving on and forgetting about her past and brings up the word rememory as a description of the recollections of her plantation that she will never forget. In Beloved, the main character Sethe tells the story of her life, and …show more content…
Rememory, while technically not a real word in the English language, is a word that Sethe uses to describe how her past continues to stay with her. While at first glance Sethe’s use of the word rememory may seem like a word that a slave who never learned to read or write uses as a part of her incorrect vocabulary, Morrison shows throughout the novel how much significance this non word holds. When you break down the components of rememory, re is the repetition of something and memory is the way the mind stores information, so the word rememory is simply that. A memory that just keeps coming back. Sethe is aware of her rememory, and it seemed like something she would never be able to get rid of. Sethe showed her trauma filled brain and perfectly explained her meaning of rememory when talking to Denver by saying, “some things go. Pass on. Some things stay. I used to think it was my rememory. You …show more content…
Beloved is a major reason why Sethe is unable to live for the future, and why she stays with her past. While Sethe would do anything for her babies, including killing them, to in a way save them from slavery, Sethe still felt guilt for what she had done to Beloved. She felt the need to stay with Beloved, who got pleasure from keeping Sethe in her past. Sethe gravitated towards Beloved, and shut everyone and everything out for her. Sethe saw Beloved as her own, saying “Beloved, she my daughter, she mine” (236). With this mentality Sethe stuck by Beloved even when it wasn’t for her benefit, and she took losses because of it. Beloved would constantly talk with Sethe about her past, however it would always bring back pain to Sethe. Beloved had malicious intentions as Morrison wrote, “It amazed Sethe (as much as it pleased Beloved) because every mention of her past life hurt. Everything in it was painful or lost” (69). While Beloved was Sethe’s daughter, she was a villain in the novel. Sethe grew a strong attachment to her and Beloved would only continue to bring back Sethe’s rememory. Beloved was a tangible form of Sethe’s past. Sethe killed Beloved in order to keep her from what she most feared going back to. With Beloved's appearance came memories of the plantation, keeping Sethe in the part of her life she so desperately
This led to her making an ill-informed decision. At the end of Beloved, Sethe accepts the fact that Beloved is her daughter and the guilt
She is telling her that she will not be able to live without Sethe. She has to have Sethe in her life. Beloved even tells Denver that she can leave and she will be perfectly fine. But beloved and Sethe are too attached through motherly and daughterly love. Sethe even loses her own job so she can have more time to spend with beloved.
Sethe originally believed that Beloved was just an ordinary slave woman. When Beloved’s demands begin to consume her she convinces herself that Beloved is a reincarnation of her daughter and this seems to be what the majority of readers agree with. If Beloved were alive this “woman” would be the same age as the baby she murdered. The psychological impacts of slavery are what we try to make a human connection
Beloved is a novel which reveals an escaped slave’s story of pain, danger and love. Sethe has many experiences and memories throughout the novel that form the skeptical view she has on the world. In the novel Beloved, Toni Morrison uses syntax, figurative language, and a selection of details to expand the reader’s understanding of Sethe’s worldview. With the use of syntax, Toni Morrison is able to show how Sethe was able to run from her problems, and to not look back. Page 192 reads, “She just flew.
The character Beloved is an anomaly in the story, and is the whole crux of the plot of the story as well. Her name, or lack thereof, is allegorical and the most defining character trait that she has throughout the whole book. As a character, she is a mysterious entity who latches onto Sethe and her family who feeds off their attention, and reveals little to nothing about who she is. Besides these traits, her name leaves most readers to believe that this character is the ghost of Sethe’s unnamed baby that she murdered; as we know the baby’s headstone has the word “Beloved” written on it due to Sethe misinterpreting what the pastor said
This is most evident in Sethe’s character growth throughout Beloved. Prior to the arrival of Beloved, who embodies her dead daughter, Sethe preserves the future by “keeping the past at bay” (Morrison 51). Over the course of the novel, however, Beloved gains power over Sethe: “[Sethe] sat in the chair licking her lips like a chastised child while Beloved ate up her life …” (Morrison 295). Beloved, a symbol of the painful past, consumes Sethe in the present, demonstrating that a relationship with the past can become too intense.
(Morrison 17) This suppression of her identity is a result of the trauma she experienced as a slave, where she was not allowed to have any sense of self or individuality. Through the appearance of Beloved, Sethe is forced to confront her past and accept that she was the reason for Beloved’s death. “The appearance of beloved in the story, manifests the idea that Beloved was killed by Sethe when she was an infant and is returning as a haunting spirit”(Heller 110) Beloved represents Sethe's past, and as she learns to confront and accept her past, Sethe can begin healing and moving
James Good Mr. Young English 11 17 March 2023 Sacrifice and Personal Growth in Beloved When the reader first meets Denver, she is trying to communicate with the ghost of the baby that her mother killed, while Sethe reminisces about her children and notes that Denver is the only one left. Later, after Beloved has returned, Sethe begins to distance herself from Denver, becoming obsessive in her care of and attendance to Beloved. Without enough to eat, Denver actively allows her family to have her portions, which causes her well-being to decline rapidly. Thesis: Denver’s inherent fear of Sethe leads to her developing self-sacrificial tendencies and a mature sense of responsibility in order to protect her family at the expense of her life and
A key feminine quality for women in general around this time period was their capacity for being a mother. Throughout the story, Beloved is one of the many memories that haunts Sethe which she tries to repress in vain because she attempted to murder her own child in order to save them from the same physical, emotional, and sexual abuse that she endured during her time working at Sweet Home. However, Morrison depicts this as an act of kindness. Sethe 's character is given a connection to the audience for her motherly instincts, but also a way for the audience to reflect on the fact that her attempted murders were out of motherly love and protection. Placing Sethe in the scope of many women of the time who had lived without the harshness of slavery are forced to confront the weight of a decision that they never had to make nor most likely ever will.
In Beloved by Toni Morrison, the author often utilizes many different writing techniques to emphasize the story’s main idea that one cannot let past mistakes dictate one’s life and future. Morrison’s application of nonlinear exposition in Beloved helps convey the novel’s main theme by allowing the reader to witness Sethe’s journey to self-acceptance through her personal flashbacks and Paul D.’s point of view. From the beginning, the author incorporates a flashback to illustrate how Sethe is burdened with guilt from killing her baby daughter. Morrison makes it clear to the reader that Beloved is constantly on Sethe’s mind.
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
When Sethe is raped by the schoolteacher’s nephews at Sweet Home they steal her breast milk, “one sucking on [her] breast the other holding [her] down” (Morrison 83). This is the most explicit way of showing how Sethe is robbed of her ability to be a mother, both physically and psychologically. Throughout Beloved, Sethe is continually reduced to an object and violated. She has to sell her body to get an inscription on Beloved’s tombstone after killing her to protect her from slavery. “She thought it would be enough, rutting among the headstones with the engraver, his young son looking on, the anger in his face so old; the appetite in it quite new” (Morrison 5).
7. “124 was spiteful. Full of a baby’s venom… 124 was loud… 124 was quiet” (Beloved 1-94-134) The book Beloved is composed of three parts, each part begins with an observation about 124, the house occupied by Sethe and her daughter Denver. 124 is haunted by the abusive spirit of Sethe’s dead daughter.
‘Beloved’ is the wrenching story of a woman who murders her children rather than allow them to live as slaves. It employs the dream-like techniques of magic realism in depicting a mysterious figure 'Beloved, ' who returns to live with her mother who had slit her throat. The novel is again a powerful assertion of the Black Woman 's