Mother Archetype Mothers are seen occasionally as the strangest, craziest, altruistic people who have ever been encountered. However some argue that they are the complete opposite. The basic perception of mothers that they are loving, caring, and very nurturing, and this makes up the mother archetype, not only modern day but records and perceptions that date back to ancient history. Although it has come along way, Mothers play a very important role in modern day theatre, literature, and even stories dating back to the biblical era. In ancient texts, we see this role being played by Thetis, Achilles mother in Greek mythology.
Morrison 's two works are filled with situations where mothers are put to the test; obligations are sole providers, demand in the upbringing of their children and the way in which they make use of their power are constantly being supervised and questioned by the community and society and it also argues that some of what these women think, feel and act can be regarded as an outcome of slavery. In Beloved, Morrison portrays a single woman named Sethe, who raises her children with the memories of slavery constantly present. In Beloved the author explores the mother-child bond, presenting depictions of the supernatural where the reader witnesses a dead infant return to life. Sethe is a mother who has experienced terrible events and she is a woman
Through this, Toni Morrison focused on the unjust relationships within the novel that pointed back to the antagonist, Sula. One relationship that emphasized the fluctuation of loyalty is the connection between mother and daughter. This relationship is closely shined upon as the dominant figures, such as men, are decrease and eliminated from the lives of the women. Morrison has created several instances where there is a conflict between Hannah and Sula in order to emphasize the central theme of loyalty by demonstrating the selflessness mothers possess to provide for their children. While creating a complication between mother and daughter, Morrison also fulfilled the problematic trust that is displayed within the friendship of Sula and Nel.
Morrison`s representation of Sethe as a strong, ex-slave woman does not conform to the universal depiction of a feminine and fragile woman’s character. Conversely, in the novel, the reader observes that gender roles overlap. It is noticeable at the very beginning of the story in which it is told that the house is “[F]ull of baby’s 57 venom” (Beloved, 1988: 3). Because of fear, two male characters, Howard and Burglar, could not stay in the haunted house and they decide to leave it. They are not strong enough to “cope with a baby`s ghost spirit” (Rindchen, 2002: 5).
The mother archetypes have come a long way since they were first identified. Dating all the way back to early literature, including The Epic of Gilgamesh. Demeter is an amazing example for the mother archetype because she is one of the best, and also one of the first in literature. Persephone is the beautiful daughter of Demeter and Zeus. Persephone and Demeter are called the Holy Twain and usually worshipped together even though their divine duties are quite opposite from one another.
The aim of the chapter will be to examine the two characters’ different conception of motherhood and to identify analogies and differences in their performance of the maternal role. 3.1 Motherhood as Freedom to Love: Toni Morrison’s Beloved (1987) In Beloved (1987), Toni Morrison represents the destructive force of maternal love through Sethe, an enslaved mother of four who commits infanticide to prevent her children from becoming themselves victims of the slave system. Her violent act prevents her former slave owners, referred to as ‘schoolteacher’, from taking her family
The psychological recovery of the protagonist Sethe happens due to the ritual of healing in the form of her “rememory” and confrontation with the repressed past. Morrison depicts in the novel both the psychological and physical pain of Sethe to overcome the unspeakable horrors of slavery conceptualised in the form of the ghost of her dead daughter Beloved. She fails to confront her past shredded with the crime of killing her own daughter to save her from slavery and the memory frequently haunts her in the form of a ghost since “anything dead coming back to life hurts” (Morrison, Beloved
The portrayal of the hardship of motherhood allows Sethe’s experience as a slave to transcend beyond the time period and become a universal suffering that people can relate to, therefore achieving mimesis. Meanwhile, Paul himself is another character whom Morrison uses to achieve mimesis. He keeps his emasculating torments as a slave in a “tin can” where his heart used to be, which he is unwilling to open because he feared if Sethe “got a whiff of the contents it would really shame him” (Morrison 85). His time as a slave made him see himself as a property rather than a man, which results in his loss of identity and repression of emotions, as well as prevents him from connecting with Sethe. His inability to convey his love prevents him from accepting and moving on from his trauma, and therefore creates pity.
Morrison is concerned with the omitted and unspeakable past of the black slave women. Recollecting her past, Sethe remembers that once upon a time her house 124 had been “a cheerful, buzzing house where Baby Suggs, holy, loved, cautioned, fed, chastised and soothed” (Morrison, 86). The main concern of Morrison in Beloved is to re-establish the connectivity between women to face the physical as well as psychological survival in the era of slavery. Discussing about the relationship between two women, Morrison says: We read about Ajax and Achillies willing to die for each other, but very little about the friendship of women, and them having respect for each other, like it’s something new. But black women had always had that, they have always been emotional life support for each other.”(Morrison, xvi) When Sethe arrived with her daughter, Baby Suggs “kissed her on the mouth and refused to let her see the children.
Through examining Amy Tan’s book The Joy Luck Club, Sandhya Shetty’s painting Mother and Daughter, and “Sonnets are full of love, and this is my tome” by Christina Rossetti, the power of a mother’s influence is evident. As the prominence of a mother’s wisdom grows, a daughter’s perspective will transform by understanding her relationships and situations. To describe the relationship between a mother and daughter as “complex” barely scratches the surface. For many, it is full of appreciation and admiration, frustration and contempt, or wonder and awe. Since birth, a mother and daughter feel an instinctual pull towards the other to care for and be