“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind” (Gandhi). Revenge, the act of inflicting hurt or harm on someone for an injury or wrong suffered at their hands, is relevant in both life and literature. In real life, it can often be seen when people are victims of abuse or unfair treatment, and they sometimes will try to get back at whoever hurt them through killing or injuring not only their abuser, but occasionally their loved ones as well. Similarly, in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Jenny Wingfield’s
As the book ends Paul D returns, and finds Sethe laying down in Baby Sugg’s bed ready to die (70). Sethe cried out to Paul that she lost the most meaningful person in her life, Beloved (70). Paul D then hugged her as he told her she was the best thing to ever happen to him (70). Instead of Morrison writing about families being separated, she writes about them being sold as if they were livestock (71). Morrison chose to write about the African-American experiences during slavery (Heinze 127).
The character Beloved is an anomaly in the story, and is the whole crux of the plot of the story as well. Her name, or lack thereof, is allegorical and the most defining character trait that she has throughout the whole book. As a character, she is a mysterious entity who latches onto Sethe and her family who feeds off their attention, and reveals little to nothing about who she is. Besides these traits, her name leaves most readers to believe that this character is the ghost of Sethe’s unnamed baby that she murdered; as we know the baby’s headstone has the word “Beloved” written on it due to Sethe misinterpreting what the pastor said
With this mentality Sethe stuck by Beloved even when it wasn’t for her benefit, and she took losses because of it. Beloved would constantly talk with Sethe about her past, however it would always bring back pain to Sethe. Beloved had malicious intentions as Morrison wrote, “It amazed Sethe (as much as it pleased Beloved) because every mention of her past life hurt. Everything in it was painful or lost” (69). While Beloved was Sethe’s daughter, she was a villain in the novel.
As a parent, you know how important it is to keep your kids safe. You won’t think twice in your decision if you know in your heart it will protect your children right? This is the exact situation Sethe was in when she killed her baby girl, Beloved. In the book Beloved Sethe took her daughter’s life by slicing her throat while attempting to murder the rest of her children. When I first read this I thought she was insane.
A key feminine quality for women in general around this time period was their capacity for being a mother. Throughout the story, Beloved is one of the many memories that haunts Sethe which she tries to repress in vain because she attempted to murder her own child in order to save them from the same physical, emotional, and sexual abuse that she endured during her time working at Sweet Home. However, Morrison depicts this as an act of kindness. Sethe 's character is given a connection to the audience for her motherly instincts, but also a way for the audience to reflect on the fact that her attempted murders were out of motherly love and protection. Placing Sethe in the scope of many women of the time who had lived without the harshness of slavery are forced to confront the weight of a decision that they never had to make nor most likely ever will.
In Beloved by Toni Morrison, the author often utilizes many different writing techniques to emphasize the story’s main idea that one cannot let past mistakes dictate one’s life and future. Morrison’s application of nonlinear exposition in Beloved helps convey the novel’s main theme by allowing the reader to witness Sethe’s journey to self-acceptance through her personal flashbacks and Paul D.’s point of view. From the beginning, the author incorporates a flashback to illustrate how Sethe is burdened with guilt from killing her baby daughter. Morrison makes it clear to the reader that Beloved is constantly on Sethe’s mind.
1. Beloved, the novel by African-American writer Toni Morrison is a collection of memories of the characters presented in the novel. Most characters in the novel are living with repressed painful memories and hence they are not able to move ahead in their lives and are somewhere stuck. The novel, in a way, becomes a guide for people with painful memories because it is in a way providing solutions to get rid of those memories and move ahead in life. The novel is divided into three parts; each part becomes a step in the healing ritual of painful repressed memories.
Thereafter, the hidden pain and suffering that we struggled so hard to keep from one another could no long be obscured. My mom would discretely leave the room without saying a word, but I knew exactly where she was going. Just like my grandmother, she couldn’t let the people around her see her at her weakest. She was going upstairs to let out the sorrow and grief that she tried so hard to hide from my brother and I. It happened so frequently that I tried to avoid leaving her alone in order to keep from aching.
Toni Morrison’s 1987 novel Beloved is a multiply narrated story of having to come to terms with the past to be able to move forward. Set after the Civil War in 1870s, the novel centers on the experiences of the family of Baby Suggs, Sethe, Denver, and Paul D and on how they try to confront their past with the arrival of Beloved. Two narrative perspectives are main, that of the third-person omniscient and of the third person limited, and there is also a perspective of the first-person. The novel’s narrators shift constantly and most of the times without notifying at all, and these narratives of limited perspectives of different characters help us understand the interiority, the sufferings and memories, of several different characters better and in their diversity.
All the while, Beloved is distracted by her need for revenge on her mother, taking advantage of the attention Sethe gives her. Instead of realizing that this attention is all she really desires, Beloved takes a turn for the worse, slowly wearing her loving mother
CHAPTER-V THE HEALING POWER OF FOLK CULTURE Images of women healing ill or injured women, or of women healing themselves, have become one of the central tropes in contemporary African American women’s novels. Authors such as Gayl Jones, Alice Walker, Toni Cade Bambara, and Toni Morrison utilise the trope of healing to measure past and present oppressions of women of color and to discuss what can and what cannot be healed, forgotten and forgiven. Much focus is put on how healing could be accomplished. Some hurt, they say, is so distant that it cannot be reached; other hurt goes so deep that there may be no possibility of healing... some pain can only be healed through a reconnection to the African American community and culture (Gunilla T. Kester 114)
Slaves faced extreme brutality and Morrison focuses on rape and sexual assault as the most terrifying form of abuse. It is because of this abuse that Morrison’s characters are trapped in their pasts, unable to move on from the psychological damages that they have endured. “Morrison revises the conventional slave narrative by insisting on the primacy of sexual assault over other experiences of brutality” (Barnett 420). For telling Mrs. Garner what they had done, she was badly beaten by them, leaving a “chokecherry tree” (16) on her back. But that was not the overriding issue.
The characters in Beloved, especially Sethe and Paul D are both dehumanized during the slavery experiences by the inhumanity of the white people, their responses to the experience differ due to their different role. Sethe were trapped in the past because the ghost of the dead baby in the house was the representation of Sethe’s past life that she couldnot forget. She accepted the ghost as she accepted the past. But Sethe began to see the future after she confronted her through the appearance of her dead baby as a woman who came to her house. For Sethe, the future existed only after she could explain why she killed her own daughter.
Parenting has been a long practice that desires and demands unconditional sacrifices. Sacrifice is something that makes motherhood worthwhile. The mother-child relationship can be a standout amongst the most convoluted, and fulfilling, of all connections. Women are fuel by self-sacrifice and guilt - but everyone is the better for it. Their youngsters, who feel adored; whatever is left of us, who are saved disagreeable experiences with adolescents raised without affection or warmth; and mothers most importantly.