Bluestone Road In Beloved

1491 Words6 Pages
Harriet Tubman once said, “I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” During slavery, both whites and blacks were being subconsciously dehumanized. By treating blacks as beasts, slave owners became beasts because their actions were not guided by any consciousness or morality but by pure bestiality. This leads to psychological effects on both ends, on slave owners and on slaves. Beloved, by Toni Morrison, illustrates the life of Sethe and her constant battle with her enslaved past and supernatural presence, which makes her act upon her predestined future. Morrison connects slavery with the distortion of identity. Slaves do not develop self-worth. As Tubman said, slaves do not realize they…show more content…
She struggles daily with her fading memories of Sweet Home and her dead daughter. Even though Sethe tries to ignore her past, it has a permanent mark on her. Symbols like the ghost, the number 124 and the chokecherry tree scar highlight how Sethe’s past affects her in the present. 124 Bluestone Road becomes more than a setting, it becomes a character. A character with a history, with a meaning. From the beginning, Morrison gives personality to the house: “124 is spiteful” (3). A character that serves as a portal between the dead and the living, 124 Bluestone Road portrays Beloved’s spirit. “When Paul D asks Beloved ‘What was you looking for when you came here?’ she replies ‘This place. I was looking for this place I could be in.’” (Morrison 65). The house at 124 Bluestone Road is thus a necessary condition of Beloved 's appearance, and it also is a condition of her interaction with the other characters of the novel. “Such is the case with Sethe, the most prominent of the novel’s many sufferers, who bears the physical scars of slavery’s terrible violence upon her back” (Field 3). Amy Denver characterizes Sethe’s scars from torture as a chokecherry tree; this only furthers the permanent mark on Sethe’s development as a human being. Also it presents the idea of growing from the past, it shows the beauty of being able to learn from the past and develop. When Paul D arrives, he helps Sethe…show more content…
Sethe’s actions are all molded by her struggles that are created from her enslaved past and her supernatural presence. “A wounded, enraged baby is the central figure of the book, both literally, in the character of Beloved, and symbolically, as it struggles beneath the surface of the other major characters” (Schapiro 195). Morrison is able to convey the psychological effects of slavery upon a whole family. Offspring, who were not enslaved, are still damaged from the scars of their mother. Morrison’s novel does not only expose a fictional novel presenting the story of a certain slave, but it also analyzes the true mental and emotional effects of captivity. It embraces the ability to confront terrorizing memories and be able to develop a life after such a horrible life. This novel expresses the importance on the optimistic view on the future, Morrison talks to every human being who has suffered and through Sethe’s story she tells him or her to keep going. As Tubman expressed in her quote, if only slaves like Sethe would have confronted their reality, they would have been able to develop a life earlier on. “While Sethe has made those in her life victims of psychological repression, she is also a victim herself. We as readers must look at the importance of these characters’ struggles and recognize
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