Hummingbirds In Toni Morrison's Beloved

1516 Words7 Pages

Madison Link
Lord Fleenor
AP Literature
14 December 2015
Hummingbirds Cannot be Ignored
Indecision: the inability to make a resolution effectively (Houghton 690). Beauty: physical attributes that pleases aesthetic senses (Houghton 120-121). Time: the infinite progress of circumstances in the past, present, and future regarded as one entity (Houghton 1418). In Toni Morrison’s Beloved, the humming bird embodies each of these intangible concepts even though its image is only illustrated twice.
The humming bird gets its name by the fast beating of its wings, making it sound in a like manner to humming. Its rapid wing movement allows it to fly short distances quickly, never seeming to stop. Because of this seemingly endless movement, the hummingbird …show more content…

True to the resemblance he bears to Charon from Greek mythology, the ferryman on the river of Styx, Stamp Paid always exacts a price from the runaway slaves he helps over the river. As his restitution, he states, “dispensing with that formality [knocking] was all the pay he expected from … [the runaway slaves he helped] in his debt” (203). Paid has always exacted his price without doubt, and that is why he has an internal dilemma over the decision to knock on Sethe’s door even though he feels that he lost that right when he meddled in her affairs. As he goes up to the door, he has the conviction to knock, but his body will not move because he cannot overcome his belief that his mistake overshadows helping Sethe escape from slavery. Subsequently, he retreats, mentally stating, “Spirit willing; flesh weak” (207). As Professor Keller explains, this type of syntax can be described as antithesis because of the balanced yet contradicting ideas it presents (Keller). Morrison employs antithesis to juxtapose the strength of Stamp Paid’s will with the weakness of his body. An antithesis mirrors a hummingbird’s wing movement, which is even and steady, yet swiftly changing directions. In each of these instances, both characters’ thoughts represent the uncertainty of the hummingbird

Open Document