Sethe is the female protagonist in Beloved. She lost her mother at a very early age and she too is a slave. She was brought to the Sweet Home Plantation as a slave where she marries Halle Suggs and bears four children from him. She as a slave suffers a lot inhumane treatment at the plantation by the white masters. She is thrashed hardheartedly and milked like a cow.
Jacobs frequently wrote about the impact of slavery on being a mother, and the impact of slavery on the mother and child bond. At the beginning of the novel, she writes about the different experiences between the male and female slaves on New Year’s Day. She writes, “But to the slave mother New Year's Day comes laden with peculiar sorrows. She sits on her cold cabin floor, watching the children who may all be torn from her the next morning; and often does she wish that she and they might die before the day dawns” (Jacobs 15). Motherhood is the most basic human right, and slaves are being stripped of their ability to have families.
It is said from the beginning of time that nothing could ever be greater than a mother's love for her child, and in the story "I Stand Here Ironing" by Tillie Olsen, it proves just that. In the story the narrator, an unnamed mother reflects back to the days when her child, Emily, was still a baby and the struggle of raising her during the Great Depression. The mother then goes on to talk about the unexpected situations in society and her life that made her become a single working-class mother who also had to give her baby to the father's family because she couldn't afford to raise Emily on her own. The story "I Stand Here Ironing" tells a lot about a mother's regrets and sacrifices for her own child and how far she would go in order to do what
She is raped by him often, and has fathered many of his children. Once Pa’s wife dies, she is forced to be the motherly figure in her siblings/kids life. All of these people in her house at the time are related to her by blood, in more ways than most, but you can tell they are not family to her. She does not feel at the beginning of the book. She makes herself not feel, so she can stay alive.
Stephanie J. Shaw comments on the topic in “Mothering under Slavery in the Antebellum South”: “Even when slave women had abortions, refused to conceive, or committed infanticide in order to protect children from a lifetime of slavery, they often did so in [what was considered] the interest of mothering”(249), which often served as the slave’s mother’s last options. In fact, Morrison presents the issue of infanticide with Sethe’s mother throwing babies overboard and Ella starving her baby. Although their actions save the children from living as slaves, their motivations are tainted by their emotions about the circumstances under which the children are conceived. Sethe completely loves the children she plans to kill. Still, she spends most of
Ahmed Mahmood Jasim Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl “They lived together in a comfortable home; and, though we were all slaves, I was so fondly shielded that I never dreamed I was a piece of merchandise, trusted to them for safe keeping, and liable to be demanded of them at any moment.” (Harriet Jacobs, p. 7) In this quote Linda’s doesn’t know that is she is a slave until she becomes six years old; she lives with her mother and father who were married. In her infancy, as well as in her later life, she profited from the support that is provided by her parents. Although her parents die when she is young, her grandmother remain the central figure in her life, supporting her needs, and guidance. land's realization that she is a slave that is really terrible her and really, she cannot change this fact. At the end of the novel when She is finally freed by the second Mrs. Bruce, she reiterates her amazement that a human could ever be seen as merely a thing to be bought and sold.
"Ah can’t die easy thinkin’ maybe de menfolks white or black is makin’ a spit cup outa you: Have some sympathy fuh me. Put me down easy, Janie, Ah’m a cracked plate." Nanny is beyond exhausted. She grew up during slavery, was raped and had to raise her child, Leafy, without a father. Nanny never got married because she was worried that Leafy would be trampled upon like she was.
For many years, people of colour were forced into slavery just because of their race. They were made to be housekeepers, cooks, work on farms and build railways. Women were not allowed to vote, work or go to school. They had to stay home and cook, clean and take care of the babies. Little girls could not attend school and had to stay home and help their mothers.
She is denied to go to school, because according to her stepfather, she is ‘too dumb to keep going to school’ (CP 9). She is repeatedly raped by him and becomes pregnant twice, but the babies are taken away from her. Celie becomes a mother of two children born of incestuous union but they are sold by Alphonso for monetary benefit. Celie’s life is the representation of the female slaves whose children were forcefully taken away by the slave masters who enjoyed the financial gain by selling children. Celie mingles her physical suffering with the psychological torture through many letters that she writes to God and her sister.
It was the breaking point in her mindset when she decided to run away with her children. Although escaped from Sweet Home, slavery haunted and tracked her down. To save her children from slavery, from experiencing what she did, from something she perceived as worse than death, she had only one choice: “the terrible choice between life as a slave and violent death that is almost the only choice slavery allows to its victims.” (Daniels 16) so she decided to kill them all when she caught a sight of the schoolteacher coming to get them and bring back to Sweet Home. As Fuston-White remarked, one cannot judge Sethe for what she did because “it was not madness, but the reality of slavery, that drove Sethe to kill her child” (461). Her love for them is unspeakable, she identifies them as her essential part, as the one and only valuable thing she can claim as hers and therefore wants to protect them, even if it means killing them: “And though she and others lived through and got over it, she could never let it happen to her own.