Theme Of Slavery In Toni Morrison's Beloved

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Morrison 's novel Beloved is presumably the crown work of postmodern thematic occupation with subject’s identity and its construction, respectively in a context of a race and slavery. In her novel, Morrison deals with the lives of African American women in the second half of ninetieth century, through the period of the abolishment of slavery. Although the institution of slavery was formally abolished in the US in 1865 by the Thirteenth Amendment, African American people endured (or rather still endure!) a life-long impact of slavery no matter whether they were slaves themselves or the descendants of ones. The concept of slavery constructed their personalities, mindsets, behavior, and influenced their lives in general which can be observed and…show more content…
At Sweet Home, she lived through the schoolteacher’s reign of terror, she was scrutinized like an animal, robbed of her milk which traumatized her and “she feels robbed of her essence, of her most precious substance, which is her maternal milk” (Schapiro 159). Afterwards, she is punished, whipped while pregnant: “’Schoolteacher made one open up my back, and when it closed it made a tree. It grows there still. '” (Morrison 17). 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. The best thing she was, was her children. Whites might dirty her all right, but not her best thing, her beautiful, magical best thing—the part of her that was clean” (Morrison 251). What the institution of slavery forced her to do then is unimaginable and horrid, but she is depicted and recognized as “the heroic African-American mother, who has survived terrors both natural
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