The Experiences Of Slavery In Toni Morrison's Beloved

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Memories are an innate part of us; everyone has them and are affected by them, whether they are good or bad. Memories are the past, and the past is what defines each of us, they change us in good ways and bad. In Toni Morrison’s Beloved, the characters are each, in their own ways, affected by the memories and traumas of slavery, whether they were slaves or not. It is these memories of slavery that have altered the characters’ beliefs, beliefs that civilization holds correct. Traumas can easily alter a person’s belief, and the continuous traumas caused by slavery can do irreparable damage to a person’s beliefs. These damaged beliefs can also affect those close to a person, such as in the case of Sethe and her children. The novel also shows how…show more content…
This event shows the readers how deeply slavery has affected its victims psychologically and how the memories of slavery can impact those who weren't even slaves themselves. Sethe, upon hearing that Schoolteacher was coming to 124, attempted to kill each of her children, only succeeding in killing Beloved. She did this because she was under the assumption that Schoolteacher was coming to 124 to force Sethe and her children into a life of slavery, even though the Civil War was over, and Sethe refused to let that happen. Sethe believed, and still believes, that death is a better alternative than a life of slavery. Murder is a mortal sin, and it is something that has and will always be something that a civilization holds to be wrong. However, Morrison once again asks us to look at things from Sethe’s point of view, to walk a mile in the shoes of a former female slave. Sethe, upon realizing that the Schoolteacher is coming to her home, refuses to even contemplate that he is coming to do anything other than taking her and her family back to a life of slavery. Under this belief, Sethe refuses to risk her children being forced into the life that she once led. Sethe, like many other female slaves, was raped, tortured, sold, and was forced away from her children. This led to deep psychological damage as well as physical scars. From Sethe’s point of view,…show more content…
And these memories have changed the way they view the beliefs that civilization holds dear. While Morrison does not ask us to forgive the characters for their actions, she does ask us to empathize with these characters. She asks us to look at the actions committed by the characters from their own viewpoints, the viewpoints of former slaves, so that we may better understand why they did these things. Morrison asks us to walk a mile in her characters’ shoes, to look at the beliefs held by a civilization from the viewpoint of those who were wronged by civilization
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