Amy Morrison Character Analysis

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Among many characteristics of postmodernist thinking, an especially crucial one is relativism, the concept that one individual’s understanding of the world differs from another’s due to his personal experience. Each person experiences his own, albeit biased, version of the truth, informed by his background and cultural identity. Relativism finds its start in post-World War II America, a time when cultural identity becomes more prevalent and informs the way every person interacts with his surroundings. People begin to use many different labels and identifiers to create quasi-tribal cultural groups, and the public values the idea of diversity. The postmodern principles of relativism, cultural division, and diversity, in turn, lead writers like…show more content…
Their history of slavery and abuse shapes their personalities and decisions. Characters like Denver, “born on the river that divides ‘free’ and slave land in the midst of Sethe’s flight from slavery” (Krumholz 91), struggle to understand their place between freedom and slavery. Denver’s dual identity affects her greatly and her “dual inheritance of freedom and slavery tears [her] apart” (91). Denver gets her name from a white woman, Amy Denver, who helps Sethe at the time of Denver’s birth. Sethe remembers Amy as someone so thin she “needed beef and pot liquor like nobody in this world,” (Beloved 32). Denver herself only knows Amy through stories. In that way, Denver cannot truly grasp her identity. She cannot fully understand her name, a crucial aspect of identity. Named after a white woman though unequivocally a person who experiences the effects of racism, Denver cannot find her place in the world. Other characters face the dichotomy of “slave” and “free” as well, namely those with histories of slavery at Sweet Home, a plantation that many of the characters, like Sethe and Paul D, have experience working on. At Sweet Home, the homeowners treat slaves with the idea of equality and respect, even allowing one slave, Halle, to buy his mother’s freedom—but the slaves still cannot claim freedom, for they remain slaves. Sethe sees Sweet Home as “a blessing she was reckless enough to take for granted, lean on, as though [it] really was one” (Beloved 23). The experience Morrison conveys in Beloved mirrors real situations and characters, as “[she] rewrites the life of the historical figure Margaret Garner, who killed her child to prevent her recapture into slavery, and sets this story as the focus of an epic-scale recreation of African-American life under slavery and in its aftermath” (Rody). Morrison captures real slave and African-American history in the way that Sethe’s
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